Alan Dershowitz to help WikiLeaks' lawyers fight Twitter case

By Jennifer Lipman, February 16, 2011
Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz

Harvard law professor and civil rights advocate Alan Dershowitz is to offer his legal expertise to WikiLeaks.

According to a WikiLeaks press release, he will be working with British QC Geoffrey Robertson, head of Julian Assange’s UK legal team.

Professor Dershowitz, who has represented a number of high profile clients including OJ Simpson, is one of the academic world’s most prominent supporters of Israel. His 2003 book on Israel’s history and politics, The Case for Israel, was a bestseller.

Professor Dershowitz will be looking at whether the US Attorney General has legal grounds to force Twitter to disclose records of any communications between Wikileaks and its followers on the micro-blogging site.

Mr Assange called the order “an outrageous attack by the Obama administration on the privacy and free speech rights of Twitter's customers”.

Professor Dershowitz worked on a not dissimilar legal case in the 1970s – that of Alaskan senator Mike Gravel’s role in the publication of the leaked Pentagon papers about the Vietnam war.

He told Foreign Policy magazine that Wikleaks was “the Pentagon Papers case for the 21st century.”

He said: "This is a very important test case, because it tests the reach of the First and Fourth Amendments to new electronic media. It's every lawyer's dream to help shape the law, not just react to it."

Last updated: 2:50pm, February 16 2011