Entertainment

Netflix, Alan Dershowitz Drop Claims Over Jeffrey Epstein Docuseries – The Hollywood Reporter

Netflix and Alan Dershowitz have agreed to drop dueling claims over Filthy Rich, a docuseries exploring convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who is now deceased.

Dershowitz dismissed his defamation lawsuit, while Netflix and series producer Leroy & Morton Productions dismissed their counterclaims against the Harvard Law professor accusing him of trying to chill their free speech rights, according to a joint motion filed Friday in Florida federal court.

The case was paused a week before the two sides resolved the litigation because of concerns over Dershowitz’s health. Dershowitz and his lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The case arises from issues Dershowitz had with his portrayal in the series, which premiered in May 2020. During interviews for the documentary, he denied having participated in Epstein’s trafficking of minors and raping Virginia Giuffre. He also defended Epstein’s 2008 plea bargain with the Justice Department that allowed him to avoid federal prosecution.

Dershowitz, who’s known for having represented high-profile defendants in criminal cases, accused Netflix of distorting the narrative and failing to present evidence that he said exonerated him.

Netflix shot back with a counterclaim arguing that its free speech rights were being illegally threatened. Pointing to fair reporting privileges, it said that the series’ creators relied on public court filings.

Dershowitz, 83, on March 10 moved to remotely attend mediation sessions. He said he’s recovering at a New York hospital after having to undergo an invasive surgery to treat “multiple serious health emergencies” that required hospitalization. His doctors recommended that he avoid traveling long distances to ensure that he does not compromise his health.

Netflix opposed the request. It took issue with what it called “gamesmanship” by Dershowitz, who has been left “unfettered by the rules and orders governing the conduct of proceedings in this Court.”

“Defendants seek his tax returns; he decides to drop his claim for economic damages and seek merely nominal damages instead,” reads the motion. “Defendants seek to depose the doctor listed on his initial disclosures as ‘[t]he treating physician who treated [Plaintiff] after the broadcast streaming of Filthy Rich for severe emotional distress to the point of having a mini-stroke,’ he ‘withdraws’ him as a witness but refuses to commit to withdrawing his emotional distress claims.”

Netflix argued Dershowitz was making tactical choices to thwart attempts to dispose of the case. It argued that the parties shouldn’t bother with mediation at all if Dershowitz is not physically present at the session because “the Plaintiff’s team will be missing its play caller, and mediation will be a waste of everyone’s time.”

The day after, U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga paused the case pending Dershowitz’s recovery. She cited concerns that his health might result in further delays.

“The Court will not deprive Plaintiff of the benefits of his chosen venue, including significant and required pre-trial events such as the in-person mediation, and thereafter, trial,” he wrote.

Netflix and Leroy & Morton Productions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dershowitz’s lawsuit is one of several defamation complaints that have been lodged against Netflix in recent years. This is at least partially because of its interest in true-crime content. The streamer has been sued over its portrayal of various people and groups in series such as Operation Varsity Blues, Making a Murderer and Messiah.

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