Dershowitz to advise WikiLeaks founder's lawyers

Harvard Law professor says he will focus on Assange's First Amendment rights, says US gov't should not demand Twitter information.

Alan Dershowitz 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Alan Dershowitz 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Harvard Law School professor and prominent political commentator Alan Dershowitz said on Tuesday that he will join WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's legal team.
Dershowitz, who said he has "spoken on the phone extensively" with Assange is advising the WikiLeaks founder's lawyers in England on his extradition case.
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"The First Amendment protects even speech that may be seen as dangerous or threatening by some," Dershowitz said.
Dershowitz "will be focusing on First and Fourth Amendment issues, freedom of press and freedom of association and limitations on the government's power to intrude on these rights. I will also be interested in helping to develop the law involving the new electronic media," he added.
Also on Tuesday, a US federal court in Virginia debated whether federal prosecutors could force Twitter to hand over information on the accounts of at least four members, as part of a criminal investigation into the release of secrte documents by WikiLeaks.
Dershowitz said he thinks the government's efforts to obtain the Twitter records infringe on the users' constitutional rights.
In a phone interview, Dershowitz noted the role that social media has played in government protests in Egypt, Iran and elsewhere and those governments' attempts to crack down on social media use, and said the United States should set an example that allows social media communication without potential government intrusion.
"The government should have to show some credible basis ... before infringing on associational rights," Dershowitz said.
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Associated Press contributed to this report.