A federal judge rejected a bid by two women to join a high-profile sexual abuse lawsuit and ordered scandalous sex allegations against Britain's Prince Andrew and a prominent U.S. lawyer removed from the court record.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra's ruling Tuesday came in a case involving wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein. The two women, identified as Jane Does No. 3 and No. 4, claim to be among dozens of women Epstein sexually abused as teenagers at locations ranging from a Palm Beach mansion to a private Caribbean island to a sprawling New Mexico ranch.
The women wanted to join a lawsuit filed by other alleged victims. The lawsuit against the U.S. government seeks to reopen a non-prosecution agreement Epstein reached with federal prosecutors. Epstein pleaded guilty more than six years ago to state sex offenses and served a 13-month jail sentence, but could have gotten a much longer prison term if the Justice Department had brought charges.
Federal prosecutors opposed allowing the two Jane Does to join the lawsuit, which was filed in 2008, and Marra agreed.
"Justice does not require amendment in this instance," the judge wrote.
Marra also ordered sensational allegations against Prince Andrew and well-known lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a former Harvard Law School professor, stricken from the court record. Both denied any wrongdoing, with Dershowitz contending in his own court filings that Jane Doe No. 3 made up sex abuse stories involving him. Buckingham Palace stood by Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II who is also known as the Duke of York.
Marra said the sex abuse details had no bearing on the lawsuit's goal of reopening the Epstein non-prosecution agreement.
"The factual details regarding with whom and where the Jane Does engaged in sexual activities are immaterial and impertinent to this central claim," the judge wrote. "These unnecessary details shall be stricken."
Buckingham Palace had no comment Tuesday, referring to its past denials. Dershowitz, in a statement, called the decision "a vindication of my position" and said it should serve as a warning to attorneys against making unsupported allegations.
Full Disclosure -- I'm quoted in this article in support of the decision.
Update -- Dersh is on the record with ATL:
This isn’t the end of all Epstein-related litigation for Professor Dershowitz. He’s still a defendant in that libel action filed against him by Paul Cassell and Bradley Edwards, counsel to Jane Doe #3 aka Virginia Roberts. But Professor Dershowitz might actually welcome the continuation of that case. With his involvement in the Jane Doe case now over, the defamation case may be the best avenue for completely disproving the allegations against him.
UPDATE (2:45 p.m.): I just raised this possibility in email correspondence with Professor Dershowitz, and he agreed: “Right. I won’t rest until she admits she made it up.”
In his 1982 memoir, The Best Defense (affiliate link), Professor Dershowitz wrote, “Sometimes the public has to be reminded that the word criminal in criminal lawyer — like the word baby in baby doctor — is a description not of the professional, but rather of the clientele.” Alan Dershowitz might represent criminals, but he’s no criminal himself — and those who allege otherwise do so at their peril.