(Reuters) - Two lawyers representing a woman who claims to have had sex while a minor with prominent U.S. criminal defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz filed a defamation lawsuit against him on Tuesday.
Former federal judge Paul Cassell and Florida plaintiffs attorney Bradley Edwards filed the lawsuit in a Florida circuit court, accusing Dershowitz of initiating a public media assault on their reputation and character, according to court documents.
In a filing in Florida federal court last week, Cassell and Edwards said their client, identified as Jane Doe #3, was forced as a minor by financier Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with several people, including Dershowitz and Britain's Prince Andrew.
Dershowitz on Monday filed a sworn statement in Florida federal court, denying he had sex with an underage girl on Epstein's private plane and island. Buckingham Palace has also denied the allegations against Prince Andrew.
In their lawsuit, Cassell and Edwards said Dershowitz defamed them when he accused them of "deliberate misconduct and unethical behavior warranting disbarment" during several interviews with U.S. and international media outlets.
Cassell and Edwards said Dershowitz made defamatory statements in "reckless disregard" in order to support his claim of innocence.
"I'm thrilled that they sued me, because this gives me an opportunity to depose them and prove beyond any doubt that they concocted the entire story out of whole cloth and that they did not do a proper investigation and that they have falsely accused me," Dershowitz said on Tuesday.
Dershowitz said in Monday's filing that the allegation against him was a "deliberate lie." He said that while he had flown on Epstein's plane several times, Jane Doe #3 was not on any of those trips. He also said he had been to Epstein's island once, for a day, and was with his wife and daughter the whole time.
Also on Monday, Dershowitz filed a motion in federal court to enter in a lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by his accuser and other women who say Epstein sexually abused them.
The women say the government's 2008 plea deal with Epstein, which allowed him to serve jail time on state charges but avoid federal prosecution, violated their rights.
Dershowitz, a Harvard University professor emeritus, represented Epstein against the sex crime charges, for which Epstein served a 13-month sentence after pleading guilty in 2008.
(This story deletes last paragraph. Buckingham Palace has not identified Jane Doe #3 as Virginia Roberts)
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Noeleen Walder and Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Ken Wills