Alan Dershowitz is known as a defender of notorious newsmakers, including O.J. Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein. But it's another client that caused prominent liberals, friends, and even some family members to reject him: the noted lawyer's defense of Donald Trump during impeachment.
"The Constitution provides only four grounds for impeachment, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. They didn't charge him with that. They didn't charge him with any kind of criminal type or like behavior. They charged him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress that are unconstitutional," Dershowitz explained. "So, of course, I would defend him."
And for that, Dershowitz says he's paid a high price. He details the experience in his latest book – his fiftieth – The Price of Principle: Why Integrity is Worth the Consequences.
Dershowitz writes that today in America, partisan advocacy masquerades as principled argument. He contends hypocrisy and a far-left agenda elevate identity over principle.
Canceled by the Culture
Once accepted by his community, the former Harvard Law professor isn't getting invitations to return to venues like New York's Temple Emanuel and the 92nd Street Y. Dershowitz said even the public library has banned his books, and he's no longer welcome at most social gatherings.
"It's been both personal and institutional. Personal. I was seated next to Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the former president, at a dinner party," Dershowitz recalled. "And she said, 'If I knew you had been invited, I wouldn't have come.' This is the ambassador to Australia who is supposed to be able to be in the same room with the leaders of foreign countries who won't be in the same room with a man who showed a profile in courage, to paraphrase her father's book."
Friends and acquaintances have also rejected his family members.
"My wife worked out in a gym and somebody walked in and said, 'Oh, that's Alan Dershowitz's wife. We can't be in the same room with that person.' Larry David came over to me while I was trying to have lunch. He starts screaming at me and yelling, 'You're disgusting. You're disgusting!' because I patted Mike Pompeo on the back," Dershowitz explained. "He is my former student and I was congratulating him for the Abraham Accords."
He says several lawyers have shared they won't defend President Trump because they don't want to be "Dershowitzed" – they don't want to be treated like him. Despite the rejection, Dershowitz still defends Donald Trump when warranted.
FBI Raid and Possible Indictment
Although he believes the feds have the evidence to indict Trump for possessing classified U.S. government documents, he predicts the former president will not be indicted. And he said the FBI's recent raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago home and the search for and seizure of classified documents was not justified, or legal.
"They should have persisted on their subpoena. They could have enforced the subpoena in court and made President Trump turn over the 15 or so boxes. But instead, they decided to engage in a very widespread search, which also involves the seizure of not only classified material, but lawyer-client privilege material, executive privilege material, and probably declassified material," Dershowitz said.
And he believes that means Justice Department lawyers are now examining Trump's private information.
"Imagine what would happen if one of the Justice Department lawyers on the team read an email that said, lawyer-client privilege, absolutely privileged, confidential, but it had some really juicy stuff about Trump that would destroy his chance of ever winning the presidency again. You think that wouldn't get leaked? Does anybody in the world believe that that would remain confidential?"
Partisan Divide & The Greater Threat
Although Dershowitz feels Trump's rights have been repeatedly violated, that won't lead him to vote for Trump if he receives the Republican nomination for president in 2024. Instead, Dershowitz would vote for Joe Biden again.
"I was a strong supporter of Biden because I thought he could help unite the country. He's a compromiser by nature. It hasn't happened," he said. "I've been a little disappointed. I'm still going to vote for him again if he runs and is healthy, but nonetheless, I'm disappointed that he hasn't done a better job in uniting the country. "
And that disappointment has led to a deep concern about whether America can overcome its bitter partisan divide and return to national unity.
"This is perhaps the worst that I've ever seen. And the danger is the hard left is so intolerant and so totalitarian in its mindset, and they're the teachers of our future leaders," Dershowitz explained. "And so I worry much more about the totalitarian mindset of the hard left than I do about the totality and totalitarian mindset of the hard right. We've been through this before, during the McCarthy period, during the Vietnam period, and we've gone back."
For Alan Dershowitz, it may take more critical thinkers, people of integrity, and Americans choosing principle over partisanship.