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Alan Dershowitz still provides legal advice to serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, he confirmed to Axios.

What he's saying: "He has called me a couple of times about legal issues, because I'm still technically his lawyer," Dershowitz told me in a phone interview on Saturday.  "But I haven't had any social, or any other kind of contact. ... You never stop being a person's lawyer."

Background: Dershowitz helped Epstein get a sweetheart plea deal from then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta (now Donald Trump's labor secretary and a rumored long-shot contender for attorney general).

  • A bombshell Miami Herald investigative series last week highlighted for the first time the extent of Epstein's alleged crimes and the soft treatment he received from federal prosecutors.
  • The Palm Beach multimillionaire would "serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement — essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes," according to a Miami Herald examination of thousands of emails, court documents and FBI records.

Dozens of women alleged that Epstein molested and raped them when they were underaged using a sophisticated human trafficking network. A civil trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday in Palm Beach County that may finally let these women tell their stories in court.

Behind the scenes: While he was allegedly raping teenage girls, Epstein cultivated cozy relationships with America's elites.

  • Bill Clinton flew on Epstein's plane, nicknamed the "Lolita Express," numerous times, according to flight logs.
  • And Donald Trump, in a profile with New York magazine written several years before the police caught up with Epstein, praised his friend as a "terrific guy." "It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do," Trump said of Epstein, "and many of them are on the younger side."
  • Dershowitz was also friendly with Epstein before the broader public knew he was a pedophile.

Dershowitz confirmed to me that he received a massage at Epstein's Palm Beach home, adding that the woman who provided it was of legal age.

  • "What happened was I, um, he lent us, this was well before any of this thing came out, he lent us his house once. And I was there, my grandchildren were there, my daughter was there, and we all got massages."
  • "And, um, it was therapeutic. I had a therapeutic massage with an old old Russian, but I never never ... and that was part of when we had his house for about a week during I think it was Christmas vacation."
  • "Believe me, if I had known that anything improper had ever taken place in that house, I never would have allowed my children, my grandchildren, my wife, my daughter-in-law, my son, to have spent time there. I can tell you categorically there were no inappropriate pictures, no inappropriate anythings. It was like any other house."

One of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts, has claimed Dershowitz had sex with her when she was underage. Dershowitz has denied the allegation and told the Miami Herald "the story was 100 percent flatly categorically made-up" so "she could get money."

Go deeper: Trump defender Dershowitz shunned by Martha's Vineyard

Go deeper

FAA clears more planes after 5G fears

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it had approved nearly 80% of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports with new 5G services after fears of signal interference limited 5G rollout.

Why it matters: The FAA approvals will help provide more certainty after the agency raised fears that 5G signals could reduce the accuracy of certain equipment, known as radio altimeters, that helps planes land and take off in inclement weather.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton stock tanks on report of production halt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Peloton stock fell by as much as 25% on Thursday, following a CNBC report that the connected fitness company will temporarily halt production on its bikes and treadmills.

Why it matters: Peloton is viewed by many as a proxy for consumer behavior in the pandemic era, as its popularity surged when gyms closed and people wanted to exercise at home.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters, WHO says — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker