A federal judge ruled on Thursday to publicly release documents that have been kept under seal in a case involving Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s one-time girlfriend and alleged accomplice.
US District Judge Loretta Preska verbally unsealed the documents in a ruling held via teleconference. She is giving Maxwell’s legal team a week to pursue an appeal to her decision but ordered the court to have the documents ready to be posted “within a week.”
The documents are connected to a 2015 defamation case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed Epstein sexually abused her while she was a minor and that Maxwell aided in the abuse. The case was settled in 2017.
Included in the now unsealed documents are Maxwell’s 2016 deposition related to the lawsuit in which she denies knowing if Epstein had a scheme to recruit underage girls for sex. Other documents include emails and depositions by others, including Giuffre and anonymous women who also claim to have been abused by Epstein.
Preska ruled that several medical records included in the court filings will remain sealed. In addition, she noted that the multiple anonymous women — “Jane Does” who accused Epstein of abuse but have not publicly spoken out — will continue to have their identities redacted in the documents.
In her ruling, she said that the public’s right to have access to the information carried heavier weight than the “annoyance or embarrassment” to Maxwell.
“In the context of this case, especially its allegations of sex trafficking of young girls, the court finds any minor embarrassment or annoyance resulting from Ms. Maxwell’s mostly non-testimony … is far outweighed by the presumption of public access,” she said.
Maxwell, 58, was charged by federal prosecutors in early July for allegedly helping recruit, groom and ultimately sexually abuse minors as young as 14 as part of a years-long criminal enterprise with Epstein. She pleaded not guilty and was ordered jailed pending trial.
Parts of the deposition were unsealed last August, a day before Epstein killed himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial for allegedly running a sex-trafficking enterprise.
The charges against Maxwell, which came almost exactly a year after Epstein’s arrest, also include two counts of perjury for comments she made during a legal deposition in April and July 2016 as part of the defamation case.
During the deposition, Maxwell denied having given anyone a massage, specifically denied having given Minor Victim-2 a massage and said, “I wasn’t aware that (Epstein) was having sexual activities with anyone when I was with him other than myself.”
Asked whether Epstein had a “scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages,” she replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”