OJ Simpson's lawyer Alan Dershowitz says Bryan Kohberger's defense should PRESUME he is guilty
This article is based on sources and MEAWW cannot verify this information independently.
MOSCOW, IDAHO: Bryan Kohberger, the main suspect in the brutal murders of four University of Idaho students in November 2022, is undoubtedly facing a mountain of evidence against him, but, a prominent lawyer believed that was just one side of the story.
Legal experts have admitted that there were several "bad facts" for 28-year-old Kohberger in the probable cause affidavit for his arrest that was unsealed last week, including DNA evidence linking him to the quadruple homicide. According to star defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, however, the affidavit presents only the prosecution's account of events. Dershowitz was famously part of ex-NFL star OJ Simpson's "dream team" that got him off the hook in the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
In an interview with Law&Crime, Dershowitz analyzed the affidavit linking Kohberger to the November 13 fatal stabbings of Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen. “The document narrows in on Kohberger, so the defense’s first step should be to begin developing their own evidence. You always assume your client is guilty, and then you work back from there,” Dershowitz explained. He continued, “I’m going to surprise people when I say that a good criminal defense lawyer always starts with a presumption of guilt, not a presumption of innocence. If you assume your client is innocent, you’ll make mistakes. You’ll allow searches. You will allow him to speak to the police. Then you always keep in mind the possibility of a plea bargain. This is difficult in a case like this where there were so many deaths and so brutal that the lawyers, whoever they are, really have their work cut out for them.”
The affidavit listed strong "circumstantial evidence" including cell phone records and the suspected car’s proximity to the victims’ house. “You’re looking to try to explain away the physical, indisputable evidence in a way that presents the possibility of innocence or at least reasonable doubt,” Dershowitz insisted.
The star lawyer, however, admitted that it was "very difficult" to do during the OJ Simpson case. "There you had blood evidence, you had location evidence, wounds, you had a range of factors -- all of which pointed in one direction," he said, adding, "But we were very lucky because the police messed up terribly in the OJ Simpson case. They likely planted evidence hoping to convict somebody they believed was guilty." However, in Kohberger's case, Dershowitz said that the police "seem to have done a very credible job." Nonetheless, he suggested that the "alternative" approach could still be taken by putting all other parties on the stand. “Often putting the police on trial, putting the prosecution on trial, and deflecting attention away from the defendant toward other people can be an approach that’s worth pursuing as well,” Dershowitz explained.
The defense attorney, 84, also said that Kohberger must be thoroughly questioned as he was "the most important witness" and may have a reason why his cell phone was switched off, or why he frequented that area of Moscow, Idaho, which would not be unreasonable considering he lived about 10 miles away. “In the end, it may be that he had a relationship,” Dershowitz continued, adding, “We have no real evidence of this with any of the alleged victims or their friends. So what you’re looking for is possible innocent explanations or at least explanations that create a reasonable doubt."
Dershowitz said that Kohberger’s DNA being found on a knife sheath left beside one of the victims seemed like "very damning evidence" but it was not bulletproof. “I won a case some years ago that seemed like it was open and shut and we found out the lab had made mistake after mistake after mistake and our client was acquitted,” he recalled.
Dershowitz suggested it was wise to wait until the trial in order to uncover the admissible evidence, the defenses, corroborating witnesses, as well as Kohberger’s testimony -- should he decide to take this stand. “We’re a long way away from being able to evaluate the likely outcome,” Dershowitz noted.
Based on the affidavit, however, Dershowitz had his own conclusions at this point. “The likely outcome does, at this point in time, point to probable guilt,” the legal expert acknowledged, concluding, “And the American tradition of every defendant, particularly those who are most unpopular, deserve a zealous defense. So this man should get a zealous defense. That doesn’t guarantee an acquittal or even a hung jury. All he’s entitled to is a zealous defense, not a verdict."