The New American | June 6 2012
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, who is prosecuting George Zimmerman for second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, reportedly threatened to sue Harvard University over the barrage of stinging criticism made by law Professor Alan Dershowitz about the controversial prosecution. The well-known professor publicized the threats on Tuesday.
According to Dershowitz’s account, in a recent phone call to the Ivy League law school made by the special prosecutor, Corey said she would seek to have the Bar Association discipline him for his harsh comments about alleged prosecutorial misconduct. Corey also warned Harvard of potential legal action against Dershowitz for alleged libel and slander, the professor said.
But if the goal was to intimidate or silence Professor Dershowitz, Corey failed miserably. In his widely published statement about the threats, Dershowitz, citing the unalienable right to freedom of speech, continued to lambaste the special prosecutor for what he said was her deliberate effort to mislead the court by hiding the facts. And he promised to continue speaking out on this case and any others of his choosing.
“Even if Angela Corey’s actions were debatable, which I believe they were not, I certainly have the right, as a professor who has taught and practiced criminal law nearly 50 years, to express a contrary view,” wrote Dershowitz, probably the most outspoken and high-profile critic of the prosecution so far.
His public statements on the issue have been widely cited in media reports, and apparently the attacks infuriated Corey. But Dershowitz stood firm despite the threats, adding a new level of criticism against the prosecutor in a case that — due largely to overwhelming publicity and political opportunism — has divided much of the nation.
“The idea that a prosecutor would threaten to sue someone who disagrees with her for libel and slander, to sue the university for which he works, and to try to get him disbarred, is the epitome of unprofessionalism,” Dershowitz added. “Fortunately, truth is a defense to such charges.”