High-Profile Criminal Defense Lawyer Alan Dershowitz Has Been Married Twice

Allison DeGrushe - Author
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Jan. 4 2024, Published 1:12 p.m. ET

Well-known criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz.
Source: Getty Images

On Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, newly revealed court documents alleged that Alan Dershowitz, a well-known criminal defense attorney and former Harvard law professor, had sexual relations with several underage survivors linked to the disgraced late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's trafficking ring. According to sworn testimony, Dershowitz was also "present alone at the home of Epstein, without his family, in the presence of young girls."

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Given these disturbing allegations, let's delve into information about Alan Dershowitz's family, which includes details about his two marriages and three children.

Alan Dershowitz testifies at Capitol Hill in 1998.
Source: Getty Images
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Well-known attorney Alan Dershowitz has been married twice.

Alan Dershowitz's first spouse was Sue Barlach, a native of New Jersey whom he described as an "Orthodox Jewish girl" in his book Chutzpah. As reported by The New Yorker, the two crossed paths during their high school years at a Jewish summer camp in the Catskills. They tied the knot in 1959 when Dershowitz was 20, and Sue was 18.

In 1972, they separated after 14 years of marriage, with Sue subsequently filing for divorce. The legal proceedings took place in 1976, during which Sue claimed that Dershowitz had physically abused her, resulting in medical treatment and therapy. Dershowitz denied mistreating her, and their eldest son attested to witnessing no improper behavior.

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Alan Dershowitz and his second wife, Carolyn Cohen.
Source: Getty Images

Alan Dershowitz and his second wife, Carolyn Cohen.

Initially, Sue was granted temporary custody of their children, but Dershowitz sought sole custody. As part of his case, he presented tapes of phone conversations in which Sue spoke to him "in the most disparaging terms" and called him names over the phone while the children listened. Ultimately, Dershowitz was granted full custody of their two sons.

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According to The New Yorker, Sue moved to New York and worked as a research librarian for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. On Dec. 31, 1983, she "drowned in the East River, in an apparent suicide."

After dating around, Dershowitz met neuropsychologist Carolyn Cohen in 1982. The couple quickly moved in together and were married four years later. The two lived in a massive Cambridge, Mass., home for more than 20 years, but as of late, they divide their time between homes in Martha's Vineyard, Miami Beach, and Manhattan.

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Alan Dershowitz has three kids: Elon, Jamin, and Ella.

The well-known criminal defense lawyer is the father of three children: Two sons, born from his first marriage to Sue, and a daughter, born from his second marriage to Carolyn.

His eldest, Elon, was born in 1961. During Dershowitz's sabbatical in Palo Alto in December 1971, tragedy struck when Elon, then 10 years old, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This news deeply affected Dershowitz, leading him to fixate on finding a cure and saving his son.

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(L-R) Alan Dershowitz, his son Elon, and Arthur Aidala.
Source: Getty Images

(L-R) Alan Dershowitz, his son Elon, and Arthur Aidala.

Reflecting on this challenging time, he wrote in his book Taking the Stand, as reported by The New Yorker, "I couldn't concentrate on my book. My marriage, which had been suffering for several years even before our trip to California, was now in deep trouble." Despite Elon's recovery after surgery, the strain on the marriage proved insurmountable.

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Elon currently works as a film producer, and his credits include projects like Reversal of Fortune, The Advocate's Devil, Fallen, Pete Rose on Trial, Class Actions, and The Whole Truth.

Jamin Dershowitz, the second child of Dershowitz, was born in 1963. A Yale Law School graduate in 1988, he began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Joseph Tauro of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He later worked for the New York Legal Aid Society, representing indigent people accused of crimes.

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In 1993, Jamin joined the NBA's legal department and contributed his expertise to various legal matters such as salary cap administration, collective bargaining, and the NBA's partnership with USA Basketball. He moved to the WNBA's legal department during its inception and currently serves as the league's legal counsel; he's responsible for advising the league on legal matters and for negotiating player contracts.

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Jamin's marriage to a woman named Barbara, a Roman Catholic, inspired Dershowitz to pen The Vanishing American Jew, dedicated to them and their kids. Together, Jamin and Barbara have two children: Lori and Lyle.

Ella Dershowitz, born in 1990, is the third child and the only daughter of Dershowitz. According to Heavy, Ella earned her degree in theater from Yale University in 2012. Since completing her college education, she has pursued a career in acting, accumulating a diverse portfolio of off-Broadway productions and television appearances.

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Alan Dershowitz with his second wife, Carolyn Cohen, and their daughter, Ella.

Alan Dershowitz with his second wife, Carolyn Cohen, and their daughter, Ella.

Her stage credits include Joy and Pandemic, Can You Forgive Her, Twelfth Night, and The Screenwriter’s Daughter. On the small screen, Ella has appeared in TV shows like The Affair, Pitching Tents, Knife Fight, and Lie To Me.

When she's not acting, Ella enjoys making crossword puzzles. Ella's puzzles have been featured multiple times in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic several times.

Report online or in-person sexual abuse of a child or teen by calling the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 or visiting childhelp.org. Learn more about the warning signs of child abuse at RAINN.org.

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