Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More on the criticism of the prosecutor in Zimmerman case; apparently she does not like to be criticized

I have posted several links to articles and videos in which other have criticized the conduct of the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case in Florida (see here and here).  Among those critical of her conduct is Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.  Here is a video of an interview in which he says the prosecutors conduct was unethical.  Here is an article he published on the issue.

Well, apparently the prosecutor did not appreciate his comments and gave Harvard a call in which Dershowitz claims she went on a rant, including threatening to sue Harvard, in response to his comments.  Here is Dershowitz side of the story.  And here is a short debate on it at the Legal Ethics Forum.

I don't know what the prosecutor actually said nor what she claims would be the base for the claim against Harvard, but having heard Dershowitz interview, it seems to me his comments were pure opinion on a matter of public interest which means there is no basis for a defamation claim.  If the prosecutor does not like the criticism maybe she should not put herself in the middle of a public controversy.

Having said that, though, interestingly, in the article in which Dershowitz describes the prosecutor's call to Harvard he does make a statement about her conduct that sounds like a factual (as opposed to an opinion statement).  He says that she "willfully omitted" relevant information from the affidavit used to charge the defendant.  That statement, which I did not hear him make in the TV interview, could be argued to be a statement of fact about illegal conduct on her part, which, if untrue, could be used as a basis for defamation.  The problem is that, again, the determination of the whether the statement is "true" is based on a difference of opinion as to what the law requires in terms of support for an affidavit in support of an indictment.

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