Former Trump Impeachment Counsel Alan Dershowitz Says 'Nefarious Group' Seeks to Destroy Any Lawyer Who Defends Trump

AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

We previously reported on Harvard Law Professor Emeritus, Alan Dershowitz sharing his thoughts on the politically-motivated prosecution of former President Donald Trump in Miami.


Now Dershowitz, one of Trump’s attorneys during the first impeachment trial, is giving an insider view of what he says is intense pressure by one liberal group intent on keeping attorneys from working on Trump’s behalf.

In Thursday’s edition of his Substack newsletter, entitled “Why Donald Trump Cannot Get a Top-Tier Lawyer,” he lodges some damning accusations. After stating that the former president has been arraigned and pled not guilty to the classified documents charges, Dershowitz writes of Trump’s current legal team on that case:

….He was represented by two lawyers, neither of whom he apparently wants to lead his defense at trial. He has been interviewing Florida lawyers, and several top ones have declined. I know, because I have spoken to them. There are disturbing suggestions that among the reasons lawyers are declining the case is because they fear legal and career reprisals.

There is a nefarious group that calls itself The 65 Project that has as its goal to intimidate lawyers into not representing Trump or anyone associated with him. They have threatened to file bar charges against any such lawyers.

Dershowitz notes that this isn’t the first time he’s written about the group — an action that placed him on their “target” list, he says:


When these threats first emerged, I wrote an op-ed offering to defend pro bono any lawyers that The 65 Project goes after. So The 65 Project immediately went after me, and contrived a charge based on a case in which I was a constitutional consultant, but designed to send a message to potential Trump lawyers: if you defend Trump or anyone associated with him, we will target you and find something to charge you with. The lawyers to whom I spoke are fully aware of this threat — and they are taking it seriously.

He readily admits that “[t]here may be other reasons” why lawyers might choose not to work for Donald Trump, including the fact that he’s a challenging client to handle. But he says that isn’t enough to explain what he’s observing and hearing from others in the legal sphere. Another reason could be the nature of the case itself, which “….will be a difficult case to defend and an unpopular one with many in the legal profession and in general population.”

Dershowitz compares The 65 Project’s web of actions meant to hurt Trump’s ability to retain competent counsel to the Joseph McCarthy era:

This case is different: the threats to the lawyers are greater than at any time since McCarthyism. Nor is the comparison to McCarthyism a stretch. I recall during the 1950s how civil liberties lawyers, many of whom despised communism, were cancelled, and attacked if they dared to represent people accused of being communists. Even civil liberties organizations stayed away from such cases, for fear that it would affect their fundraising and general standing in the community.


He goes on to describe how he was “cancelled” after acting as an attorney during the impeachment trial:

It may even be worse today, as I can attest from my own personal experiences, having defended Trump against an unconstitutional impeachment in 2020. I was cancelled by my local library, community center and synagogue. Old friends refused to speak to me and threatened others who did. My wife, who disagreed with my decision to defend Trump, was also ostracized. There were physical threats to my safety.

The former law professor references what he calls “the John Adams standard” in the American legal system. Adams “too was attacked for defending the British soldiers accused of the Boston Massacre, but his representation of these accused killers now serves as a symbol of the 6th Amendment right to counsel.”

He continues, warning that The 65 Project’s “chilling” effect is putting that constitutional right in peril:

That symbol has now been endangered by The 65 Project and others who are participating in its McCarthyite chilling of lawyers who have been asked to represent Trump and those associated with him.

Dershowitz rounds up his piece with the most damning allegation, if it turns out to be true, about how Stanley Woodward, the attorney for Trump’s co-defendent, Waltine Nauta, may be under threat, which my colleague Nick Arama recently wrote about:


[Former DNI John] Ratcliffe alleged that a member of Jack Smith’s special counsel team had threatened “a lawyer representing President Trump’s personal valet,” Walt Nauta, and that the lawyer [Stanley Woodward] had to “flip” Nauta. Otherwise, the lawyer might not get the position as a judge he was aiming for.

Arama followed-up with a report that former Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Sharf has also spoken out against this alleged attack on Woodward and his career.

While Dershowitz says he hasn’t personally seen evidence that the allegation is true, if it is, “then it represents a direct attack on the 6th Amendment.”


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