Famed defense attorney and Harvard University Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told a talk radio host on Friday that the large African American population in of the District of Columbia could prove problematic to the Trump administration as special counsel Robert Mueller moves forward with his investigation of potential coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
In an interview with WABC Radio host Rita Cosby, Dershowitz said Washington has always been solidly Democratic and “has an ethnic and racial composition that might be very unfavorable to the Trump administration.” Mueller has reportedly impaneled grand juries in Washington and Northern Virginia as part of his ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) on Friday accused Dershowitz of being “racist” for his comments in the radio interview. “What he is saying is ‘all of those black people are there and they don’t like Trump and so he’s not going to get a fair trial and so they should take it out of that jurisdiction. It shouldn’t be there to begin with.’ I don’t like that, and I’m surprised that Alan Dershowitz is talking like that,” Waters told MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
Dershowitz said the make-up of the grand jury in Northern Virginia does not concern him as much because the region “is a swing area, sometimes Democrat, sometimes Republican.”
Cosby asked Dershowitz if he thinks the location of the grand jury “stacks the deck” against Trump. Dershowitz said he does, adding, “I think it’s a tactical move designed to send a message that if the prosecutor decides to prosecute, he will have a real advantage with the jury pool where the case will be held.”
In a 2016 interview prior to the presidential election, Dershowitz said he has found Trump “very pleasant” and “very charming” the couple times he has met him. “I liked him as a person,” recalled Dershowitz, who said his view of Trump is that the president “is not a bigot.”
Dershowitz also has defended Trump senior counselor Steve Bannon, claiming he has not seen any evidence of “personal anti-Semitism on the part of Bannon.” As head of Breitbart Media, prior to joining the Trump White House, Bannon developed the news site into a home for anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, and white nationalist rhetoric.
While Dershowitz has defended Bannon, he has been extremely critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, which campaigns against systematic violence against African Americans. Dershowitz has complained that the Black Lives Movement has focused too much attention on the unequal treatment of African Americans and has not called for due process for white police officers.