June 01, 2017

Taking Offense: An Interview with Alan Dershowitz

The acclaimed criminal lawyer has never shied away from controversy or unpopular causes.

Ashish Joshi

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“May you live in interesting times,” says an ancient Chinese curse that masquerades as a blessing. Alan Dershowitz has indeed lived an interesting, if often controversial, life. A professor at Harvard Law School since the age of 28, he has represented movers and shakers of Hollywood, politics, law, sports, and business, including Bill Clinton, Julian Assange, O.J. Simpson, Claus von Bulow, Marlon Brando, Mia Farrow, and Mike Tyson. But it wouldn’t be fair or accurate to label him just as a “celebrity lawyer.” While his client list is indeed chockablock with ritzy personalities, he has also played a key role in some of the most interesting litigation involving people who were not well known but whose cases nonetheless raised riveting legal issues, such as whether a husband can be prosecuted on charges of slavery for not doing anything about his wife’s alleged abuse of domestic employees. See United States v. Sabhnani, 599 F.3d 215 (2d Cir. 2010).

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