Jeffrey Epstein’s Socialite Pal Ghislaine Maxwell Asks Court to Keep Files SealedBy
An appeals court has ordered 2,000 pages to be made public
Maxwell says that press interest is hampering ‘due process’
A British socialite who has long denied she was involved with Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sexual abuse of underage girls told a federal appeals court that the media’s “furious feeding frenzy” justified keeping documents from a defamation suit by an alleged victim secret.
Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, on Wednesday asked for a rehearing by a full panel of the appeals court in Manhattan of her request to keep the filings, which run about 2,000 pages, from the 2015 case sealed.
The dispute stems from a lawsuit against Maxwell by Virginia Giuffre, a Floridian who claims Epstein sexually abused her for two years starting in 2000, when she was 16 years old, and that Maxwell participated. Giuffre sued Maxwell in 2015 after the socialite publicly called her a liar.
A three-member appeals panel ordered a federal judge to publish the documents. The ruling was handed down three days before Epstein’s arrest on sex-trafficking charges. The filings could shed light on Giuffre’s claims that prominent politicians and business leaders joined in Epstein’s alleged abuse for years.
“The media have shown an insatiable appetite for any shred of information/speculation to publish and broadcast since Mr. Epstein’s arrest,” Maxwell said. “They have published articles speculating Ms. Maxwell may be the subject of the ongoing criminal investigation of Mr. Epstein.”
Read More: Epstein Denied Bail Because He Poses ‘Danger’ to Community
The media’s intense interest in the case after Epstein’s arrest justified keeping the documents sealed, she said. The longtime friend of Epstein cited a Miami Herald article speculating she may have been involved in the alleged crimes or could be named as a cooperating witness.
Josh Schiller, one of Giuffre’s lawyers, said in a statement that the New York-based appeals court rarely overturns a decision by one of its panels.
“There is an overwhelming public interest both in getting access to these documents as well as the indictment of Mr. Epstein and his prosecution,” Schiller said. “I anticipate that this will merely be a short delay before the decision is affirmed.”
Maxwell also said that Giuffre, in anticipation of the documents being made public, filed “irrelevant documents solely to advance her ulterior, non-litigation profit purposes.”
The press interest could result in “due process concerns” for Epstein and other potential prosecution targets and witnesses, she said.
Read More: Opening of Epstein Sex Case Files May Fuel Acosta Criticism
The documents were filed in connection with a summary-judgment motion in Giuffre’s case, which was eventually settled. They could provide new information about Epstein’s alleged trafficking ring. Prosecutors say it involved dozens of girls, some as young as 14.
Giuffre first accused Epstein in December 2014 when she attempted to join a civil suit filed by two of the money manager’s alleged victims who sought to nullify a federal non-prosecution agreement he struck as part of a guilty plea to lesser state charges.
In her request to join the suit, Giuffre included descriptions of abuse by Epstein and other individuals, “including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders,” the appeals court said in its July 3 ruling.
Giuffre also filed a defamation suit in April against Epstein’s longtime lawyerand Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz after he denied claims that he abused her. That case is pending.
Epstein has denied the allegations. More than a decade ago, he served 13 months in a Florida state prison after getting a secretive non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in 2007 and pleading guilty to state prostitution charges.
The appeals court case is Giuffre v. Maxwell, 18-2868, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York). The district court case is 15-cv-7433, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).