Jeffrey Epstein Pal Maxwell Loses Last-Ditch Attempt to Seal Papers

Erik Larson

(Bloomberg) -- A federal appeals court unsealed hundreds of pages of long-awaited documents from a defamation lawsuit against one of Jeffrey Epstein’s closest friends, revealing details about claims that the money manager and his associates sexually abused underage girls.

The appeals court in Manhattan on Friday denied a last-ditch request by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was close to Epstein for years, to reconsider an order to make documents public from the suit filed against her in 2015 by an alleged victim, Virginia Giuffre.

Not all the documents were unsealed. The appeals panel made public more than a dozen filings related to Maxwell’s failed motion for summary judgment in the case, but the panel ordered a lower court judge to analyze subsets of other documents before making them public.

Giuffre has claimed Epstein sexually abused her for two years starting in 2000, when she was 16. Giuffre alleges that Maxwell recruited her while she was working at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and that the socialite participated in the abuse.

In her suit, Giuffre claimed that Maxwell, daughter of the late British publisher Robert Maxwell, defamed her by publicly calling her a liar.

Numerous documents stemming from the case are already public, including documents with allegations against well-known people.

Maxwell had argued the documents should be kept under seal because of the shocking nature of the allegations, including Giuffre’s previously reported claim that Epstein and Maxwell forced her to have sex with the U.K.’s Prince Andrew while she was a minor. The allegations were first reported in a British tabloid several years before the lawsuit was filed.

The case attracted public attention last month when a federal appeals court ordered U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to unseal 2,000 pages of documents that may identify other people described in court filings as “prominent individuals” connected to the case.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender who served 13 months in jail a decade ago after pleading guilty to soliciting a minor, was arrested in early July and charged with sexually assaulting teenage girls from 2002 to 2005. He has pleaded not guilty.

Maxwell has long denied she was involved with Epstein’s alleged sexual abuse of underage girls. Last month, her lawyers told the appeals court that the media’s “furious feeding frenzy” justified keeping the documents sealed and she asked for a rehearing by a full panel of the appeals court.

Read More: Epstein’s Socialite Pal Maxwell Seeks to Keep Files Sealed

Giuffre also sued Epstein’s lawyer, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, accusing him of defaming her by calling her a liar and denying her claims that he also sexually abused her. Dershowitz denies that he defamed her and says he was defending himself against her allegations.

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.

(Updates with details about nature of unsealed documents.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Jeffrey D Grocott, Peter Blumberg

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