The Second Circuit Court of Appeals is deciding whether or not to unseal documents from a lawsuit against a woman accused of running a sex trafficking ring with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Judges had given parties 15 days to argue why documents in a lawsuit brought against Epstein’s former partner Ghislaine Maxwell should not be unsealed. Maxwell is fighting the unsealing of records; so are two anonymous individuals who filed motions on Tuesday.
The documents could shed light on allegations against Epstein and Maxwell, as the case was brought in 2015 by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed that Maxwell recruited her to be a masseuse for Epstein when she was 16 years old. This allegedly led to Epstein having her perform sex acts at his behest from 1999 to 2002. Giuffre claimed that other underage girls were involved as well.
Maxwell reportedly settled the case for millions of dollars in 2017, and court documents have been kept under seal.
Court records show that individuals who filed motions for leave to intervene in the case are going by the names John Doe and J. Doe. John Doe’s motion seeks redaction of third party individuals’ personal information. His motion said that while he is not a party in the case, nor has he ever been a party in litigation related to the case, he is worried that unsealing documents without redactions “may well substantially infringe the privacy and reputational interests of many third persons, potentially including [Doe], who have never been charged with a crime, have never be en subject to civil proceedings, and have never been publicly identified by Giuffre.”
One person who has been publicly identified by Giuffre is Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz, who she claims had sex with her while she was underage and working for Epstein. Dershowitz, who represented Epstein in a related case, has repeatedly and emphatically denied this.
Dershowitz called Giuffre a “certified, complete, total liar” in a conversation with the Law & Crime Network’s Brian Ross in December 2018. He said her allegations against him were a “complete and total fabrication.”
Epstein, meanwhile, was convicted in 2008 as part of a guilty plea to a state charge of soliciting prostitution from underage girls. The billionaire avoided federal charges by entering a non-prosecution agreement, which a federal judge recently said was made illegally. The agreement, which was offered by prosecutors working under Alexander Acosta (who is the current U.S. Labor Secretary), was made without informing any of the alleged victims in the case.
[Image via Florida Department of Law Enforcement]