Professor Alan Dershowitz Talks Constitutional Law on Ayo News Insights - Transcript
This week on Ayo News our host Charli Fisher went behind the scenes of constitutional law with renowned American lawyer, Professor Alan Dershowitz. See the full transcript of the interview below and watch the full interview for FREE on ayozat.com at: https://www.ayozat.com/watch/ayo-news-insights/wCg3XEKpA6ea
Charli - I'm Charli Fisher and welcome to News insights. Today we have the privilege of speaking with Alan Dershowitz, a renowned American lawyer, jurist and professor with a distinguished career spanning decades. Professor Dershowitz has been a prominent figure in constitutional law and personal freedoms. He served as a professor at Harvard Law School. Authored numerous books and is well known for his high profile legal cases.
Welcome, Professor Dershowitz.
Professor Dershowitz - Thanks for having me.
Charli - As an acclaimed legal defense lawyer, what makes you defend such high profile cases like O.J. Simpson? Harvey Weinstein. Epstein and even Donald Trump?
Professor Dershowitz - Well, I've had a mix of types of cases over my 60 year career. Half of my cases are pro bono. Most of them involve people who are obscure, who just need legal representation and can't afford it, obviously, because I've won a lot of my cases.
Also, wealthy people and high profile people come to me. And so I've had a mix. I've represented some of the most popular people in the world, Avital Sharansky, Bill Clinton, Al Gore. But I've also represented some of the most unpopular people in the world. That's what criminal lawyers do. That's what John Adams the second president United States, did when he represented the young people charged with conducting the Boston massacre.
A good lawyer represents a mix of different kinds of clients. I'm 85 years old now. I hope to continue to help people on death row and to represent people from all walks of life for as long as the good Lord gives me the power to do it.
Charli - Does it ever concern you when you face a controversy for representing such high profile clients?
Professor Dershowitz - I'm very proud of that controversy. why would I be worried. Criminal law should be controversial because we represent many guilty people along with innocent people. Our job is not to see that justice is done. That's the job of the judge, the jury, the prosecutor. Our job is to render the most effective ethical, legal, moral defense we can. The vast majority of people charged with crime in the United States and Great Britain are guilty.
Thank God for that. We wouldn't want to live in a country where the majority of people charged with a crime were innocent. That would be Iran or China or Russia. But in great democracies, it's very important for lawyers to defend the guilty along with the innocent, and to understand that you're going to be controversial. I tell my students, if you don't want controversy, become a will and estates lawyer Your clients are dead. Nobody criticizes you. Very few people know about it. But if you're going to be a criminal or constitutional lawyer, you have to have a thick skin.
Charli - Speaking of the media, in your opinion, how and why has the American media become so politically polarized over the last few years?
I don't know whether it's a cause or effect, but they're related America has become so politicized, you can't today have reasonable debates or discussions. You're either pro-Trump or anti-Trump. You're either pro-Israel or anti-Israel. You're a Democrat or a Republican. I used to have great debates with Bill Buckley, who is a great conservative, and we would debate each other and then we'd go out and have a drink. But the media today, and particularly social media, has polarized everything, and it's very hard to have rational discussions.
Charli - You've said in the past that you think the media has become the fourth branch of the American government. What did you mean by this?
Professor Dershowitz - The media presents Attitudes. We have channels you watch and you know that they're going to be completely pro-Trump. We have other channels you watch. They're going to be completely anti-Trump. They reflect what the government is doing. We don't have Pravda in this country. That is, we don't have government actually run channels. We have freedom of speech, as they do in other Western democracies. But the government plays an enormous role in what is presented to the public and what is kept from the public.
Charli - Speaking of politics, what are your predictions for the Republican Party candidate, and who do you think will win the US election?
Professor Dershowitz - It's up to the good Lord. Health will determine everything. If both Trump and Biden remain healthy, then it will be Trump versus Biden. And about two months ago, I would have said Biden was likely to win the election. Now I think it's a toss up, It's very difficult. The economy will determine a lot, and there's almost a year between now and the election, and economies are unpredictable. If they were predictable, we'd all be wealthy, but they're not. And so I think the election is unpredictable. I do think right now Trump has a reasonable chance of being reelected, which in my view would be a tragedy. I think that Biden is the better candidate. I think that he has added some degree of stability to our government. I plan to vote for Biden, but again, the good Lord will decide whether and 80 something year old Democrat versus an 80 year old Republican. Survive and thrive and are able to run against each other most Americans would like to see a third choice, but we don't have it at the moment.
Charli - Now, we've obviously just spoken about Biden and Trump. Biden has recently said that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy. Why do you think this is and how do you respond to this?
Professor Dershowitz - Well, I think that what happened on January sixth did threaten democracy. I do think that his statement that he would be a dictator for a day was very ill advised. And that's why, on balance, even though I think both candidates have been imperfect, I vote for the two the least worst of the candidate and hopefully the best candidate, because I want to see democracy thrive.
I don't think a president has the ability to thwart democracy in America. We have a very effective system of checks and balances with a Supreme Court legislatures, the media, religious leaders, and democracy is in the heart of most Americans. And so I don't think a president, even if he tried, could succeed in thwarting democracy in America.
Charli - There's been a very subtle change coming out of the US State Department in reference to Israel's current actions. Do you think this is correct, considering Israel is the only true democracy in the region?
Professor Dershowitz - I think the United States and all Western democracies should support Israel in its war against tyranny and barbarism. Israel is not only fighting for its own soul and its own survival, but for the survival of Western society. Hamas is a fascist organization that would impose religious obligations on on women, on gays, on others. This is a very, very important battle for the future of democracy. And I hope the United States will continue to support Israel. No democracy is perfect, but the question that everybody should ask is what would you want your country to do if there was an attack of the kind that occurred against the Israeli civilians on October 7th with women being raped, children beheaded and burned, and 1200 people killed and 200 and something being taken as as hostage as what would you want your country to do? and I think the answer most people would give is we'd want them to fight like hell to destroy the entity the terrorists who perpetrated this horrible barbarism on our democracy and on innocent people.
Charli - You've also written on the conflict in the past. Where do you think the region will be in the next ten years?
Professor Dershowitz - It will be in a good place with a two state solution. But in order for it to be in a two state solution, you have to get rid of Hamas. Hamas in its charter and in its statements, rejects any state other than a qualified other than a muslim extremist state which would allow the honor killing of women and required gays to be murdered. And the only two state solution is possible if the Israelis and the Palestinians get together and agree on a compromise in which both sides have to make very, very painful compromises, neither, neither state will get everything it wants. That's the nature of democracy and diplomacy.
Charli - Do you think any of your views have changed over the last 20 years?
Professor Dershowitz - I'm boringly consistent. I've had the same views since I was 16 or 17 years old. Strongly opposed to capital punishment. Strongly supportive of free speech. Strongly supportive of Israel, though critical some of its policies. A patriotic and loyal American. Somebody who believes strongly in the Judeo-Christian tradition and somebody who would like to see us live in peace together. That's been my view since I'm 16. You can accuse me of many things, but not inconsistency. I am boringly consistent.
Charli - Now you have a well-documented friendship with the prime minister of Israel. Do you think that he has a long term role to play in Israeli politics over the next ten years?
Professor Dershowitz - I think he has a long term role to play. Whether he plays it as prime minister or as member of the opposition or as part of a national security government is is clear. I had dinner with him just eight days before this terrible event of October 7th on a Friday night, and we were working on trying to get the judicial reform issue resolved, and I had gotten some agreement from both sides, and we were all hoping to move forward. Bibi and his wife, Sarah, were very happy and very, very in a very good mood. And then eight days later, the world changed. And Netanyahu's future obviously has changed as well.
Charli - And what's next for you personally, Alan?
Professor Dershowitz - Well, I'm still defending some very controversial people. Keith Raniere is one, he has been the subject of extremely unfair vendetta and prosecution. We have evidence that the government has doctored, may have doctored photographs that led to his conviction. And we're seeking an evidentiary hearing with experts to try to prove our assertions that Raniere could never have been convicted. But for tampering, possibly by the FBI, we have to do is get to the bottom of this.
If any American is exposed to a frameing or if any American is subjected to long in this case life imprisonment on the basis of manufactured or false evidence. All Americans are an engraved danger. So I'm looking forward to litigating this case aggressively and to being unpopular and to being controversial as a result. That's what I live for. That's what I've done for 60 years, and that's what I hope to continue to do.
Charli - I'm really looking forward to following that case. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Professor Dershowitz - A pleasure. Great questions from you being on your show.
Charli - Thanks for joining us. Ayo News insights. I'm your host, Charli Fisher. We'll see you next time.