Ghislaine Maxwell cannot compel Epstein accuser to divulge settlement payment: U.S. judge

FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing in Manhattan Federal Court in New York
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Jonathan Stempel
·2 min read
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By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman who claims she was sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein and is expected to testify against Ghislaine Maxwell at her criminal trial need not disclose how much she is being compensated to resolve claims against Epstein's estate, a U.S. judge ruled on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan ruled in favor of Annie Farmer, who like many Epstein accusers sought to dismiss her lawsuit against the late financier's estate in order to obtain a confidential settlement from a victims' compensation program.

Maxwell's lawyers objected to a dismissal, saying a big settlement would give Farmer a motive to lie, and that the British socialite needed the dollar amount to properly cross-examine her if she testified.

But the judge said a dismissal would not unduly prejudice Maxwell.

"If she wants information to use in the court of public opinion she must get it elsewhere," Schofield wrote. "Similarly, if she wants information to use in her defense in the criminal case, then she should try to obtain the information using the procedures available in that case."

Maxwell's lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A lawyer for Farmer did not immediately respond to similar requests. She has accused Maxwell of meritless "victim-blaming," and said Farmer intended to testify truthfully in any future proceedings.

Maxwell, 59, is being held at a federal jail in Brooklyn after pleading not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom three underage girls for sex from 1994 to 1997.

Farmer has said she was 16 when Epstein abused her, and is one of the alleged victims discussed in Maxwell's criminal complaint.

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Grant McCool)