A federal court of appeals in New York on Monday took the first step in unsealing documents that could reveal evidence of an international #sex trafficking operation allegedly run by multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and his former partner, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
The three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit gave the parties until March 19 to establish good cause as to why they should remain sealed and, failing to do so, the summary judgment and supporting documents will be made public. The court reserved a ruling on the balance of the documents in the civil case, including discovery materials.
“We’re grateful that the court ruled the summary judgment papers are open and they are moving to expedite having them unsealed,’’ said Sanford Bohrer, the attorney representing the #Miami Herald, which filed the motion last year to have the entire case file opened. The Herald’s appeal is supported by 32 other media companies, including the New York Times and Washington Post.
The case, which was settled in 2017, contains more than 1,000 documents, lawyers said during oral arguments in New York on Wednesday. Maxwell is the sole party fighting to keep the case sealed.
Most of the documents, including court orders and motions, were filed under seal or heavily redacted, similar to other cases in New York and Florida involving Epstein, a wealthy, politically connected money manager. Epstein, 66, was not a party to the lawsuit, which was filed against Maxwell in 2015 by Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Giuffre claimed in the lawsuit that she was recruited by Maxwell at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, when she was 16 years old. Giuffre had been working at the resort’s spa when Maxwell approached her and asked her whether she wanted to become a masseuse for Epstein. Giuffre claimed that the massages were a ruse for Epstein and Maxwell to sexually abuse her and other underage girls, some of whom were trafficked to other influential people, from 1999 to 2002.
Maxwell settled the case before trial, resulting in several millions paid to Giuffre, sources have told the Herald. Maxwell, now an environmentalist, has denied all the allegations. Epstein’s attorney, Martin G. Weinberg, has not responded to emails and calls made by the Herald seeking comment.
But in an op-ed letter to The New York Times last week, Weinberg and three of Epstein’s other lawyers — including Kenneth Starr, known for his pursuit of President Bill Clinton over his sexual conduct — denied that Epstein ever ran a sex trafficking operation.
“The number of young women involved in the investigation has been vastly exaggerated, there was no ‘international sex-trafficking operation’ and there was never evidence that Mr. Epstein ‘hosted sex parties’ at his home,” the lawyers wrote.Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article227411649.html##storylink=cpy