Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz is a frequent Fox News guest, but for some reason the network never seems to ask him about his involvement in a high-profile case that continues to make news.
On Nov. 28, 2018, when the Miami Herald revealed that, in 2008, convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers, a group that included Dershowitz, had pressured then-U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta—now serving as Donald Trump's labor secretary—into negotiating a sweetheart plea deal for the billionaire financier, who was accused of molesting more than 100 underage girls.
Since that news broke, Dershowitz has appeared on Fox News a total of 27 times. Not once has anyone on the network asked him about his client or his connection to the secret plea deal a judge has since declared illegal.
Over the past year, Dershowitz has emerged as a go-to legal analyst for Fox News. His long, highly public legal career, combined with him being a lifelong Democrat who is often critical of Robert Mueller, has made him an attractive guest for Fox shows that incessantly rail against the special counsel’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
As such, the Harvard professor only ever seems to discuss one thing with Fox News—and it’s not his high-profile client.
On the evening of Nov. 28, hours after the Herald bombshell, Dershowitz appeared on Tucker Carlson’s primetime talk show. The subject of their chat? The Mueller probe.
The next night, Dershowitz appeared on Sean Hannity’s show. The topic there? The Mueller “witch hunt.” Same thing the night after that, when Dershowitz appeared on Laura Ingraham’s primetime show; and the following Monday when he once again joined Carlson.
Not a single question about Epstein, even as Dershowitz admitted to Axios that he still advises the billionaire pedophile.
On Dec. 4, Epstein settled a civil dispute and apologized to his victims’ lawyer for attempting to “defame” him. Two days later, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it had opened an investigation into the 2008 plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid facing his victims.
Over the next few months, Dershowitz appeared on Fox News another 16 times, including three chats with Tucker Carlson about the Mueller probe (including one hit in which Dershowitz defended the host against advertiser boycotts over his anti-immigrant rhetoric), and six with Hannity to discuss—get ready for this—the Mueller probe. No one asked about the Epstein case.
And then on Feb. 21, a federal judge ruled that Florida prosecutors, including Trump’s labor secretary, had broken the law by signing the plea deal brokered by Epstein’s lawyers, including Dershowitz, without talking to the victims.
That evening, Dershowitz appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show. She didn’t ask a single question about the Epstein news. Instead, they discussed Empire star Jussie Smollett being charged with filing a false police report.
And then on March 11, a federal court took the first step in unsealing documents related to the case—a move Dershowitz has said he supports. But when the famed attorney appeared on Fox News on March 11 and March 12, hosts Ingraham and Melissa Francis respectively asked him about “Democratic anti-Semitism” and the college-admissions cheating scandal.
It’s not as though Fox News is completely disinterested in the Epstein case.
Since the Miami Herald story was published, Fox has reported on the case at least 12 times, including dispatching on-air correspondents to cover its developments. Midday news anchor Martha MacCallum once even mentioned Dershowitz’s connection to the case—albeit briefly and not with the lawyer present.
In an email to The Daily Beast, Dershowitz said he never requested that Fox News keep him out of their Epstein coverage. In fact, the lawyer said, he has brought up on Fox the allegations that he participated in the billionaire pedophile’s sex-trafficking ring.
“I actually raised it in discussing the case of the actor who falsely accused people of attacking him,” Dershowitz said, referring to Smollett. (According to transcripts, however, the lawyer only vaguely alluded to having himself been the victim of a “false report.”)
“I’m happy to discuss it on any media because I have nothing to hide and have overwhelming evidence that the story was entirely made up.”
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE, 7/8/19: Epstein was arrested on Saturday, July 6 and charged two days later with sex trafficking. Federal prosecutors accused him of using his wealth to “create a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit.” Since this story original published, Dershowitz has appeared on Fox News at least 44 separate times. Not once has the network asked him about Epstein.
—Justin Baragona contributed reporting.