‘Please don’t let the cat out of the bag’: Ghislaine Maxwell’s legal team bid to keep pages of potentially embarrassing deposition secret, claiming it would stop her from having a fair trial
- Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers are trying to block the release of documents from her case against Virginia Roberts in 2016
- They say that ‘intimate’ information about Maxwell would ‘spread like wildfire’
- Maxwell denies charges of helping Jeffrey Epstein recruit and abuse three girls
Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers are pleading with a judge not to ‘let the cat out of the bag’ by unsealing a trove of potentially embarrassing documents from her case against Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Maxwell’s legal team says her chance of a fair trial could be destroyed if the deposition she gave in 2016 was publicly released.
The documents contain ‘intimate, sensitive and personal’ information about Maxwell which would ‘spread like wildfire across the Internet’, her lawyers said in a Thursday night filing.
Parts of Maxwell’s deposition were published last month, but others remain under seal while she appeals their release in a Manhattan court.
The British socialite denies charges of helping Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and abuse underage girls between 1994 and 1997, and is in custody awaiting her trial next year.
Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell (pictured in a court sketch) argue that her chance of a fair trial could be destroyed if the deposition she gave in 2016 was publicly released
Maxwell’s deposition had been taken in April 2016 for a now-settled defamation case brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Giuffre alleges that Epstein kept her as a ‘sex slave’ with Maxwell’s assistance.
A US district judge ordered the deposition to be released last month and some of the documents were published on July 30.
The documents included emails between Epstein and Maxwell, who were identified respectively as ‘jeffrey E’ and either ‘Gmax’ or ‘G Maxwell.’
Other unsealed materials included emails from Giuffre to the FBI in 2014, in which she expressed an interest in pursuing a case against Epstein.
But other documents remain hidden after Maxwell filed an emergency motion to block their release – and her lawyers are now seeking to overturn the lower court’s decision.
‘If the unsealing order goes into effect, it will forever let the cat out of the bag,’ the submission by Maxwell’s lawyers said.
Maxwell’s lawyers say the unsealing order did not take into account her privacy interests or the promise of confidentiality she received before being deposed.
The lawyers said an unsealing would cause irreversible and unconstitutional negative publicity.
They argued that a release would undermine the ‘truth-seeking function’ of Maxwell’s trial, by leading witnesses to ‘recast their memories of events from decades ago.’
Maxwell denies charges of helping Jeffrey Epstein (pictured together) to recruit and abuse underage girls between 1994 and 1997, and is in custody awaiting her trial next year
Giuffre has been one of Epstein’s most visible accusers, and her lawyers have said the public has a right to see Maxwell’s deposition.
Lawyers for Maxwell disagreed, saying her constitutional rights to remain silent and get a fair trial by an impartial jury outweigh the right of public access.
A lawyer for Giuffre did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Oral arguments are scheduled for September 22.
Maxwell is separately seeking to have prosecutors identify the three accusers in her indictment and challenging her confinement conditions at the Brooklyn jail.
Prosecutors say they are protecting the identities of sexual assault victims and are under no legal obligation to identify them.
The government said it has already given defense lawyers more than 165,000 pages of evidence, including search warrant applications and subpoena returns.
They also suggested that defense lawyers could figure out the identities of the three accusers since the indictment lists relevant time periods and events and refers to Maxwell’s conversations and interactions with them.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan, prosecutors said it was ‘at best premature’ to require the disclosure of the three victims’ identities.
Prosecutors also last week rejected Maxwell’s claim that she is being treated ‘worse’ than other inmates at the Brooklyn jail where she is being held.
The Maxwell documents relate to the 2016 lawsuit brought against her by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre (pictured left with lawyer David Boies)
Maxwell, 58, was arrested in New Hampshire on July 2 and is being held in a Brooklyn jail after a judge deemed she was a flight risk.
Her trial is scheduled for next July.
A grand jury returned a sealed, six-count indictment against Maxwell on June 29, almost a year after Epstein was charged.
It alleges that Maxwell groomed three unnamed girls, all under the age of 18, in London, New York, Florida and New Mexico between 1994 and 1997.
She is accused of having befriended them by taking them to the movies or on shopping sprees and ‘normalized’ abusive behavior by getting undressed in front of them.
Maxwell’s lawyers have tried to distance their client from Epstein, saying she’d had no contact with him for more than a decade.
Epstein died in his Manhattan jail cell last year after he was arrested and charged with the sex-trafficking of underage girls.
Epstein had previously pleaded guilty in 2008 to a Florida state prostitution charge, and completed a 13-month jail sentence now widely considered too lenient.
Before Epstein’s conviction, he and Maxwell had a network of powerful friends including Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.
Some of the abuse is alleged to have taken place on Little St James, a spot in in the US Virgin Islands which Epstein bought for $7.95million in 1998.
The Virgin Islands sued Epstein’s estate earlier this year, claiming the late sex offender raped and trafficked dozens of women and young girls on the island.
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