Renowned Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz makes a very good point:
If you are accused of a crime, you are entitled to the presumption of innocence. But in the age of #MeToo, people accused of sexual misconduct are subjected, at least in the court of public opinion, to a presumption of guilt. Worse, a claim of innocence—even a provable one—is itself treated as an offense, an assault on the accuser and on “survivors” in general.
Four years ago, a woman in her mid-30s accused me of having sex with her when she was underage. I produced incontrovertible evidence that I never met the accuser—including a lawfully recorded admission by her lawyer, who examined my travel and phone records and said it would have been “impossible” for me to have been in four places where she claimed the sexual encounters occurred, and that she was “simply wrong” in accusing me. The evidence includes emails and a book manuscript (currently under court seal) in which the accuser acknowledges that she never had sex with me, and a recorded conversation of a friend of the accuser, who says the accuser told her of feeling “pressured by her lawyers” to accuse me in order to get a big payday.
There is also evidence that the accuser fabricated stories about Al Gore, Tipper Gore and Bill Clinton, all of whom she claims she met in locations where Secret Service records and other evidence establish they could not have been. Her records establish that she was over the age of consent at the time of the purported sexual encounters.
After examining the evidence, former FBI Director Louis Freeh and a team of former law-enforcement officials retained by my lawyers concluded that “the totality of the evidence refutes the allegations” against me. The federal judge overseeing the civil lawsuit in which the accusation was filed struck it from the record and imposed sanctions on the lawyers responsible. As part of an agreement, they withdrew the filings that falsely accused me and acknowledged filing them was a “mistake.”
When I continued to fight back, I received information that a lawyer for my accuser was looking for another woman to accuse me. The second accuser was even less credible than the first. She had already falsely accused several prominent people—but not me—of having abused her when she was in her early 20s. She had also sent hundreds of pages of emails to a reporter for the New York Post claiming that she had sex tapes of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Richard Branson. The Post did not pursue the story.
None of which stopped the lawyer from filing an affidavit from this noncredible woman, now in her 30s, claiming that she had been a 22-year-old “trafficking” victim and—falsely—that I had sex with her…
My accusers refuse to make their accusations in public, outside of court documents. That shields them from defamation suits and leaves me with no legal recourse unless prosecutors decide to bring perjury charges. But it’s rare for prosecutors even to investigate false filings in civil cases.
I’ve decided, therefore, to do something unusual: I’m asking federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to open a criminal investigation of me. But not of me alone—of my accusers as well. All three of us have filed sworn affidavits in federal court. These affidavits are in irreconcilable conflict: I have sworn that I never met either of them; they have both sworn that I engaged in sexual acts with them. Either I have committed perjury or they have.
Someone has committed a serious felony, a crime against America’s justice system. I’m asking law-enforcement authorities to figure out who. I will cooperate, showing them my evidence, testifying before the grand jury, invoking no privileges. I will challenge my accusers to do the same.
It’s no fun to be investigated for a felony by the FBI, but the current state of the law and public opinion gives me no alternative if I want to be vindicated.
In more than half a century of litigating criminal cases, I have never seen one in which the evidence of innocence is so incontrovertible and the evidence of guilt nonexistent. If my evidence is “inconclusive,” then no falsely accused person can ever clear his name.
I have no doubt that many women have been victimized by sexual predators. I also have little doubt that within the #MeToo movement there have been a few women who have blackmailed men. There have also been women who have used sex for career advancement.
The “casting couch” in Hollywood has been around since…..Hollywood. And while I wonder historically which well known stars willingly used that couch to get that role on their way up, I also wonder how many good women – talented women – who, upon presented with that ultimatum, walked out in disgust to leave their dreams of stardom in some studio executive’s office.
We’ll never know.
While there undoubtedly have been many women victimized, I wonder how many men have also been victimized.
Neither sex holds a monopoly on virtue.
Over the years, some had ridiculed evangelist Billy Graham for his rules in meeting women on a one to one basis. But it is something that should be considered.
But how does one defend himself against an accuser who, for political or financial reasons, knowingly makes a false accusation? He is already convicted in the court of public opinion. Maybe, as Dershowitz suggests, insist that both accused and accuser be thoroughly investigated.