A federal judge late Thursday unsealed a trove of highly-anticipated documents from a settled civil lawsuit filed in 2015 against Ghislaine Maxwell by purported victims of disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
The first unsealed document revealed an email Epstein wrote Ms. Maxwell complaining that the news media has been printing lies about him since a 2008 plea agreement in which he copped to soliciting an underage girl for sex.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska did exempt two crucial depositions from Ms. Maxwell while she fights to keep them under wraps through an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
But the judge did order the immediate unsealing of a large cache of documents from the civil lawsuit. More documents are expected to be made public throughout the evening.
Federal prosecutors earlier this month charged Ms. Maxwell with helping recruit, groom and abuse underage girls as young as 14 as part of a decades-long sex traffic empire led by Epstein. She also faces two counts of perjury and has pleaded not guilty.
Ms. Maxwell has denied knowing that Epstein was trafficking and abusing underage girls.
The documents unsealed Thursday are from a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, who claims Ms. Maxwell helped Epstein sexually traffic her when she was underage.
Ms. Maxwell’s attorneys fought hard against releasing the documents, filing multiple appeals and legal briefs to shield the material from the public.
The legal maneuvering clearly irritated Judge Preska, who scolded Ms. Maxwell in her order.
“The Court is troubled — but not surprised — that Ms. Maxwell has yet again sought to muddy the water as the clock clicks closer to midnight,” Judge Preska wrote in an order denying defense attorneys for a phone conference to discuss redactions.
Judge Preska also slammed Ms. Maxwell for not submitting proposed redactions to the court in a timely manner, calling the delay “entirely unworkable.”
Last year, the court unsealed nearly 2,000 documents from the defamation suit, which was settled in 2017. Those documents included the names of several high-profile men who Ms. Giuffre and others claimed were ordered to have sex with, including former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and scientist Marvin Minsky.
Ms. Giuffre also claimed she was abused by Prince Andrew and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
All of the men have denied the allegations.
Ms. Maxwell was arrested earlier this month at her 156-acre mansion in New Hampshire she purchased through a shell company. She faces four counts of sex trafficking a minor and two counts of perjury related to statements she made in the Giuffre lawsuit.
Federal prosecutors say she groomed girls as young as 14 for Epstein’s sex trafficking empire between 1994 and 1997. Ms. Maxwell is also accused of participating in the sexual abuse of one alleged victim.
The charges against Maxwell come roughly one year after prosecutors filed sex trafficking charges against Epstein, who hung himself in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial.
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