Court Battles

Judge unseals documents in 2015 Ghislaine Maxwell case, delays release pending appeal

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A federal judge overseeing a 2015 civil case against Ghislaine Maxwell agreed to unseal documents related to the case now that the longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein is awaiting trial on charges that she helped recruit girls who were sexually abused. 

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, verbally unsealed the documents in a ruling held via teleconference, according to the Miami Herald.

The documents are related to a 2015 defamation case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims Epstein sexually abused her while she was a minor and that Maxwell was an accomplice. The case was settled in 2017, and the Herald had sued to uncover the documents in February.

The documents include a more-than-400-page deposition from Maxwell and Giuffre. 

Maxwell has opposed unsealing the documents on the basis that they may prove to be embarrassing or interfere with ongoing legal matters, though Preska said Thursday the presumption of public access to these documents “far outweighed” those concerns.  

“In the context of this case, especially its allegations of sex trafficking of young girls, the court finds any minor embarrassment or annoyance resulting from Ms. Maxwell’s mostly non-testimony … is far outweighed by the presumption of public access,” she said.

Maxwell was charged by federal prosecutors in early July with four counts related to procuring and transporting minors for illegal sex acts and two counts of perjury for allegedly lying about her involvement. The 58-year-old is facing up to 35 years in prison.

Tags Ghislaine Maxwell Jeffrey Epstein

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