Alan Dershowitz unloaded on the January 6th Committee’s four criminal referrals to the DOJ, all of which related to former President Donald Trump and what happened on January 6th. Lighting into what the Committee did and blasting it as unconstitutional in a Newsweek op-ed bluntly titled “The Jan. 6 Committee’s Referral Is Unconstitutional“, Dershowitz said:
The Jan. 6 Committee has voted to refer former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution. This referral violates both the letter and spirit of the Constitution for at least two reasons.
First, Article 1 of the Constitution grants Congress “all legislative powers” and only “legislative powers.” Under our system of separation of powers, the power to prosecute lies exclusively with the executive branch through the justice department. Congress has no authority to refer specific individuals for prosecution. It is beyond the scope of its constitutional authority.
Second, Congress is specifically denied the power to pass any “bill of attainder.”
Continuing, Dershowitz then goes on to explain what Bills of Attainder are and why they are important, saying:
Prior to America’s independence, the British parliament enacted such bills that prosecuted named individuals. Our Constitution prohibited Congress from prosecuting named individuals. The power of Congress is limited to passing laws of general application that can be applied to specific individuals only by the justice department and a grand jury. A congressional committee officially voting to refer a named individual for prosecution violates the spirit of the explicit prohibition against congressional bills of attainder.
The only real exception to that is, as Dershowitz notes, Section 5 of the 14th Amendment, which gives Congress the power to enforce the Amendment and disqualifies as a candidate for federal office anyone who has “has engaged in insurrection or rebellion“.
However, as Dershowitz notes, the problem with relying on that provision to justify the January 6th Committee’s unconstitutional action is that 1) it was meant to apply to former Confederates after the US Civil War and 2) the January 6th Committee didn’t rely on it when making its criminal referrals.
So, with no clear, constitutionally sound basis for its actions, Dershowitz could be right that the January 6th Committee acted unconstitutionally.
Whether Newsweek should be running Dershowitz’s op-eds is a different matter. Dershowitz is a known associate of Jeffrey Epstein whose connections to Epstein and Epstein’s sex operation have resurfaced thanks to a young woman named Sarah Ransome. The Daily Beast, reporting on what recently unsealed court documents show about Epstein and Dershowitz, noted that:
In a 2017 deposition, Sarah Ransome, a young South African expat victimized by Epstein, claimed that Epstein coerced her into a threesome with Harvard law professor and future Donald Trump surrogate Alan Dershowitz at Epstein’s mansion in New York. The name of the other alleged female participant was redacted in court records. Ransome, who was 22 when she met Epstein, testified that the woman “started undressing me in the room.”
Ransome added that they got on a bed and that “I kind of knew what was going on from that.” She further detailed the abuse in disturbing detail. “Jeffrey then walked in the room,” she testified. “He started masturbating under his clothes. He put his hand in his trousers. A few minutes later Alan walked in the room. He started undressing, he got on the bed with [Redacted] and myself, and we basically had a three-way sexual interaction.”
“I just tried to just get it done as soon as possible to get out of there,” added Ransome, who called the encounter a “traumatic experience” and described Dershowitz as “pasty-skinned” and “wrinkly.”
Dershowitz, for his part, denied the allegations, saying “She has no idea what my genitals look like. She made it all up. Any lawyer who asks her a question about a bleeding penis is engaged in unethical conduct, because there would be no basis for that. I want to see a criminal investigation done of any lawyer and any person who made up stories [about my penis] and was part of the conspiracy to make up stories.”