Attorneys for Virginia Giuffre, the woman who has accused Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew of using her as a sex slave while she was a minor, filed yet another motion arguing for full disclosure of unreleased documents in the seemingly never-ending case between the alleged victim and Epstein’s close friend and accused madam Ghislaine Maxwell.
In a five-page letter filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, Giuffre strongly criticized Maxwell’s latest argument that releasing the full tranche of documents would somehow be difficult for the powerful men mentioned in those documents.
The filing rubbishes those arguments as entirely inappropriate:
[T]he first three pages of Maxwell’s submission, which (1) detail “the difficulty and complexity” of complying with the Court’s instructions to provide reasons for maintaining under seal judicial documents to which the public has a presumptive right to access, and (2) describe the task’s “difficult-to-overstate importance to the lives of Ms. Maxwell and the non-parties,” serve no purpose. “Difficulty” is no reason to deny the public access to documents to which it is entitled under law. Maxwell is the party who seeks to protect these judicial documents from public scrutiny. The burden of providing specific reasons to do so therefore falls on Maxwell, not Plaintiff or the Court.
Maxwell also recently claimed that “the media’s interest” in the Epstein files was a reason they shouldn’t be released because it led to “reporters lurking in the bushes” trying to obtain comments from Epstein’s friend and alleged groomer of minors.
Giuffre’s attorneys went after that peculiar argument as well.
“To the contrary, [media interest] demonstrates the public’s strong interest in these materials, for which a strong presumption of public access applies,” the filing continues.
”Maxwell’s [latest filing] suggests that the Second Circuit’s unsealing of 2,000 pages of sealed and redacted summary judgment materials caused increased media interest in Maxwell,” Giuffre’s filing continues. “To be clear, Maxwell has been accused of serious wrongdoing by multiple individuals in multiple lawsuits. The media’s attention on Maxwell began long before the Second Circuit released the summary judgment materials in this matter.”
Adding another layer of secrecy—and a decidedly bizarre attempt at procedural audacity—to the ongoing battle over the full treasure trove of Epstein-related materials, Maxwell recently filed her latest opposition to releasing those documents under seal. This filing occurred without prior authorization from the court to do so.
Filing a court document under seal is typically done at the request of a court—or with the court’s permission. A party filing under seal without the court’s blessing is extremely atypical and only likely to invite further scrutiny.
“Maxwell does not identify any grounds for sealing the letter itself, which does not contain any sensitive information,” Giuffre’s attorneys point out in a footnote. “The public has a keen interest in this unsealing process, and is entitled to review Maxwell’s arguments in favor of keeping these documents from its view.”
The underlying case is stylized as Virginia Giuffre v. Ghislaine Maxwell, and was originally brought in 2015 by Giuffre against Maxwell on defamation grounds after Maxwell claimed Giuffre was lying.
Attorneys for Maxwell fought the defamation lawsuit for years before ultimately settling the case. The fight to release the records–affirmed by various courts to contain allegations against (and denials from) multiple powerful elites–became a huge matter of public interest after the Second Circuit ordered the release of the documents following Epstein’s arrest in July of this year.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska has been weighing each side’s competing arguments for and against disclosure for several months and a timeline for her ultimate decision is currently unknown.
Read Giuffre’s full submission below:
[image via mugshot]
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