Why Alan Dershowitz’s appearance on BBC News after the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict was so controversial

The BBC has been slammed for interviewing high-profile lawyer and Jeffrey Epstein associate, Alan Dershowitz, for depicting him as some sort of neutral expert following Ghislaine Maxwell’s guilty verdict.

On Wednesday, Maxwell was found guilty on five charges for her role as the madame in Epstein’s sexual “pyramid scheme of abuse”, prosecutors said.

Dershowitz, who has worked as a lawyer for Donald Trump and OJ Simpson, has since appeared on BBC News to offer his ‘analysis’ on the trial. However, the BBC failed to mention that, he too, faced the same accusations as Prince Andrew – though he is not being sued, unlike Andrew.

The lawyer took the opportunity to bash his and Prince Andrew’s accuser, Virginia Giuffre, claiming that the jury didn’t use her to testify “because they ultimately didn’t believe she was telling the truth.”

Both Dershowitz and Prince Andrew deny wrongdoing.

The BBC has since stepped forward with an official statement on social media. They highlighted that the interview did not “meet the BBC’s editorial standards” and admitted that Dershowitz “wasn’t a suitable person to interview.”

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They said: “Last night’s interview with Alan Dershowitz after the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict did not meet the BBC’s editorial standards, as Mr Dershowitz was not a suitable person to interview as an impartial analyst, and we did not make the relevant background clear to our audience.

“We will look into how this happened.”

Who is Alan Dershowitz?

Alan Dershowitz is an American lawyer who has worked on some of the world’s most famous – and contentious – legal cases from Donald Trump and OJ Simpson.

The 83-year-old Brooklyn native taught at Harvard Law School from 1964 through 2013 and has published more than 1000 articles in magazines, newspapers, journals and blogs.

Why was the BBC News interview controversial?

The high-profile lawyer had ties with Jeffrey Epstein. The two were reportedly friends since at least the mid-1990s.

In the Netflix documentary series, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Virginia Giuffre alleged that she had also been made to have sex with Alan Dershowitz.

He has denied any wrongdoing, calling it a “total lie”, and suing Netflix for $80 million, and putting a defamation case against his accuser.

What did Alan Dershowitz say?

During Thursday’s BBC News interview, Dershowitz took free reign in an attempt to flip the script on his accuser, saying the trial “used only witnesses it said were credible.” He added that “they ultimately didn’t believe she was telling the truth.”

“The most important thing for British viewers is that the government was very careful who it used as witnesses,” he said.

“It did not use as a witness the woman who accused Prince Andrew, who accused me, who accused many other people, because the government didn’t believe she was telling the truth.

“In fact she, Virginia Giuffre, was mentioned in the trial as somebody who brought young people to Epstein for him to abuse, so this case does nothing to strengthen the case against Prince Andrew, indeed it weakens the case against Prince Andrew considerably because the government was very selective in who it used.

“It used only witnesses it said were credible and it deliberately didn’t use the main witness, the woman who started the whole investigation — Virginia Giuffre — because they ultimately didn’t believe she was telling the truth and they didn’t believe a jury would believe her and they were right in doing so.”

How have people reacted?

Labour MP Nadia Whittome said: “Alan Dershowitz, is on the BBC trying to silence victims following Ghislaine Maxwell’s conviction.

“I can’t believe this needs to be said but the BBC should not give a platform to people accused of child sexual abuse.”

Singer and columnist Chris Thorpe-Tracey added: “Sickeningly passive @BBCnews interview with Dershowitz just now, presenting him as an expert ‘as a lawyer’ rather than as an accused party.

“Interviewer gave no context, allowed Dershowitz free reign to spin the verdict to benefit himself and attack his accuser.”

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