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In a new counterclaim against Alan Dershowitz, Netflix alleges that the Harvard law professor is maliciously attempting to impede its free exercise of speech.
The dispute concerns Filthy Rich, the docuseries that examines convicted and deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Dershowitz once represented Epstein and has faced an allegation of sexual misconduct himself.
In March, Dershowitz objected to a “deliberately one-sided narrative” in a suit that included a libel claim as well as contract and fraudulent inducement causes of action based on the agreement for an interview.
Now, Netflix hits back. The streamer says Filthy Rich accurately reported on public court filings, is therefore privileged as a true and fair report of judicial proceedings, that it relied on producers to fact check and communicate with Dershowitz, that he signed a release and that he was previously put on notice of asserting frivolous claims with prior threats.
“Netflix is entitled to compensatory damages and punitive damages because Dershowitz commenced this action for the purpose (and, indeed, for the sole purpose) of harassing, intimidating, punishing, or otherwise maliciously inhibiting Netflix’s free exercise of speech and petition,” states the counterclaim (read in full here).
The streamer, represented by Rachel Strom at Davis Wright Tremaine, is using an amended anti-SLAPP law passed last year in New York to fuel its counterclaim against Dershowitz. This particular invocation of the anti-SLAPP deserves special notation because it comes in a federal court in Florida. That may come with some scrutiny as the litigation moves forward.
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