Misinformation persists after Maxwell trial ends

Posted at 11:27 AM, December 31, 2021 and last updated 10:06 AM, September 10, 2022

By The Associated Press

The sex-trafficking trial of Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, ended with a guilty verdict, but that hasn’t stopped the flow of false news that has swirled around the case.

 

On Thursday, posts emerged falsely claiming that trial documents were sealed to protect Epstein — who died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex crimes — and his influential friends. At the same time, previously debunked claims reemerged on social media, including assertions that there was no media coverage of the high-profile trial.

Maxwell was found guilty on five of six counts at the conclusion of the monthlong trial where she was accused of helping Epstein sexually exploit teenage girls.

Here are some of the claims that spread online, and the facts you need to know about them:

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CLAIM: The judge in the Maxwell case ordered details of Epstein’s network sealed after the jury found Maxwell guilty.

THE FACTS: Posts online are claiming that U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan ordered details of Epstein’s network sealed and that prosecutors made a deal to protect Maxwell’s contacts. But that doesn’t track with what actually happened.

Details of Epstein’s network came out at trial in numerous ways, through multiple witnesses and exhibits, including flight logs and bank records. And almost nothing was sealed. Last June, Nathan even ruled that two 2016 depositions from a civil case involving Maxwell could be used in her criminal trial. And troves of additional materials detailing what went on at homes where Maxwell and Epstein resided have been unsealed in the last two years after federal appeals judges and a Manhattan judge agreed that once-sealed records in a civil case against Maxwell should be released publicly.

Almost every exhibit in the Maxwell trial was released publicly, including pictures of Epstein and Maxwell together. However, the judge did find at the outset of the trial that only certain pages from Maxwell’s address book identifying victims with the word “massage” next to them could be marked into evidence.

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