Judge to discuss unsealing new trove of Epstein court papers

Posted at 12:32 PM, September 4, 2019 and last updated 12:32 PM, September 4, 2019

BY JIM MUSTIAN | ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge will discuss plans Wednesday for unsealing a new trove of court records involving sexual abuse allegations against Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who took his own life last month while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

FILE – This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. Up to 30 women were expected to take a judge up on his invitation to speak at a hearing, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, after financier Epstein killed himself rather than face sex trafficking charges. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska scheduled the hearing after an appeals court in New York ordered her to carefully review the records and release “all documents for which the presumption of public access outweighs any countervailing privacy interests.”

While it’s not clear who is named in the records, an attorney for a John Doe warned in court papers Tuesday that the documents may contain “life-changing” disclosures against third parties not directly involved in the litigation. The attorney, Nicholas Lewin, requested the opportunity to be heard on the matter, citing his unnamed client’s “reputational rights.”

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already made public more than 2,000 pages in the since-settled defamation lawsuit. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, filed the case against Ghislaine Maxwell, a former Epstein girlfriend. Giuffre has accused Maxwell of recruiting young women for Epstein’s sexual pleasure and taking part in the abuse— allegations Maxwell has vehemently denied.

FILE- In this July 30, 2008 file photo, Jeffrey Epstein appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla. Epstein has died by suicide while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, says person briefed on the matter, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Post, Uma Sanghvi, File)

The first release of court records— unsealed the day before Epstein’s jailhouse suicide in Manhattan— contained graphic claims against Epstein and several of his former associates. Giuffre alleges she was trafficked internationally to have sex with prominent American politicians, business executives and world leaders.

Giuffre filed the lawsuit in 2015, alleging Maxwell subjected her to “public ridicule, contempt and disgrace” by calling her a liar in published statements “with the malicious intent of discrediting and further damaging Giuffre worldwide.” The lawsuit sought unspecified damages.

About one-fifth of all documents filed in the case were done so under seal— a level of secrecy the 2nd Circuit ruled was unjustified. However, the appellate court, in unsealing the records, issued an unusual warning to the public and the media “to exercise restraint” regarding potentially defamatory allegations contained in the depositions and other court filings.

 

THE LATEST

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on a hearing on the unsealing of documents in the sex abuse case of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein (all times local):

11:25 a.m.

A federal judge says sealed court records contain the names of hundreds of third parties mentioned in a civil case involving sexual abuse claims against Jeffrey Epstein.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said Wednesday the unnamed people will be notified and allowed to object to the release of the documents.

An appeals court ordered Preska to review hundreds of filings in the case, including more than two dozen depositions, and release them after considering privacy concerns.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently released more than 2,000 pages in the since-settled defamation lawsuit filed by one of Epstein’s accusers.

That release came a day before he killed himself in a Manhattan jail.

An attorney for former Epstein’s former girlfriend said the sealed records also contain hundreds of pages of investigative reports.

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1:05 a.m.

A judge is expected to discuss plans for the unsealing of more court records in a civil case involving sexual abuse claims against the financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The hearing in Manhattan federal court Wednesday was scheduled after a federal appeals court in New York ordered U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to release the records after considering the privacy interests of third parties.

An attorney for anonymous third party warned Tuesday the records could contain “life-changing” disclosures against people not directly involved in the case.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already released more than 2,000 pages pertaining to a since-settled lawsuit filed by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

That case was filed against a former girlfriend of Epstein who has been accused of recruiting young women for his sexual pleasure.

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