A federal judge on Tuesday ordered several documents related to a now-settled defamation case against deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, his alleged accomplice a global sex-trafficking empire, to be released to the public no later than July 30.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska last week was unpersuaded by Maxwell and her attorneys’ arguments in favor of keeping the files under seal. The judge reasoned that the Maxwell arguments carried little legal weight when balanced against the public’s right to transparency.
A critical Preska said Maxwell’s attorneys offered “little more than her ipse dixit,” a Latin term meaning an ‘unproven assertion,’ in advocating to keep the documents from being released.
The documents slated for release include Maxwell’s 2016 deposition, her correspondence with Epstein, and a deposition from attorney and former Harvard Law School Prof. Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz has staunchly denied allegations that that he engaged in any sexual activity with any of the girls or women associated with Epstein.
“In her first deposition, which is among the documents being considered on this motion, Ms. Maxwell refused to testify as to any consensual adult behavior and generally disclaimed any knowledge of underage activity,” Preska said during the hearing, referring to testimony quoted in her federal indictment.
“In the context of this case, especially its allegations of sex trafficking of young girls, the court finds that any minor embarrassment or annoyance resulting from disclosure of Ms. Maxwell’s mostly non-testimony about behavior that has been widely reported in the press is far outweighed by the presumption of public access.”
On Tuesday, Preska released a one-page order giving the parties two days to get five previously sealed files ready for public release.
“The parties are directed to prepare for unsealing in accordance with the Court’s order of July 23, 2020, the documents listed in Exhibit A to Plaintiff Virginia Giuffre’s Opposition to Defendant Ghislaine Maxwell’s Objections to Unsealing Docket Entries 143, 164, 172, 199, & 230,” the order stated.
“Counsel shall file those documents on the public docket, under a heading of ‘Documents Ordered Unsealed by Order of July 23, 2020,’ no later than July 30, 2020. The Court incorporates its rulings specific to each document — which are set forth in the transcript of the July 23 proceedings.”
The underlying case here is a defamation lawsuit filed by Giuffre, who has been speaking out since 2011 when the United Kingdom’s Mail on Sunday published an article alleging that Epstein and Maxwell furnished her to Prince Andrew while she was Epstein’s “sex slave.”
Though Giuffre’s defamation case against Maxwell ended in 2017, Giuffre’s attorneys have fought a protracted legal battle seeking to unseal documents which may contain allegations against other public figures from Epstein’s infamous elite social circle.
Read below for the full order from Judge Preska.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[image via Justice Department]
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