Principles are important, but they can also be a distancing mechanism that permits us to maintain an aura of rectitude even as we go around behaving in ways that aren’t right at all. They can allow us to absolve ourselves for our actions by claiming they’re in service of some metaphysical lodestar that supersedes any effect on real people in real life. Sometimes, we’re simply wrong — not just constitutionally, or legally, but ethically, too.
You can make a convoluted argument that investigations of the president constitute irresponsible congressional overreach, but contorting the Constitution is your choice, and the consequences to the country of your contortion are yours to own, too. Everyone deserves a defense, but lawyers in private practice choose their clients — and putting a particular focus on championing those Dershowitz calls the “most unpopular, most despised” requires grappling with what it means for victims when an abuser ends up with a cozy plea deal.
When the alleged abuser is your friend Jeffrey, whose case you could have avoided precisely because you have a personal relationship, that grappling is even more difficult. Maybe it’s still all worth it to keep the system from falling apart, because next time it might not be a billionaire financier who wanted to seed the human race with his DNA on the stand, but a poor teenager framed for a crime he didn’t commit.