SALT LAKE CITY – Jan. 12, 2016 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is participating today in the deposition of Alan Dershowitz in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Attorney General’s Office has been representing University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell in a defamation case in Florida since June.
The defamation action arose out of a federal lawsuit in which Cassell and co-counsel Bradley Edwards sued the United States for violating the Crime Victims Reparation Act (CVRA) by failing to consult with victims before entering a plea agreement with millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was being investigated for sex-trafficking underage girls. Cassell and Edwards filed a sworn statement in the CVRA case by a victim seeking to join the case, in which she stated that Epstein forced her to have sex with Dershowitz and other wealthy, famous men. Dershowitz, who represented Epstein during the plea deal, publicly denied the statements and accused Cassell and Edwards of unethical conduct by filing the victim’s statements. Cassell and Edwards sued Dershowitz for defamation, and Dershowitz counter-sued, alleging he was defamed by the victim’s statements Cassell and Edwards filed.
The Attorney General’s Office defends all state employees when they are sued for money damages for actions arising out of their state employment. Professor Cassell, who has long been a victim’s rights advocate, was representing the victims in the CVRA case pro bono. Pro bono work is one of the requirements of Professor Cassell’s position with the University of Utah College of Law.
During his tenure as Attorney General, Reyes has been personally involved in prosecuting international sex trafficking. He also developed expertise in private practice in defending defamation actions while a partner at Parsons Behle & Latimer, where he and University of Utah Professor Randy Dryer handled some of the largest and most significant First Amendment and defamation cases in Utah.