A judge has ruled that bombshell documents in the Ghislaine Maxwell case will remain secret until at least next week after her legal team filed a last-minute appeal
The documents, which contain hundreds of pages of potentially-incriminating testimony she gave to investigators in 2015, were due to be released today.
But Maxwell’s lawyers filed an appeal on Wednesday, asking for the papers to remain sealed until at least Monday while they appeal to a Second District court in a last-ditch attempt to keep them under lock and key.
Judge Loretta Preska, who sits as part of the Southern District, agreed to the request – but warned Maxwell’s attorneys they are going over ‘plowed ground’, the New York Post reported.
Ghislaine Maxwell has won a last-minute reprieve over hundreds of pages of secret documents relating to her sex crime trial, which will now be kept hidden until at least Monday
Judge Loretta Preska, who had initially ruled the documents must be unsealed today, agreed to keep them hidden until at least Monday while an appeal is filed to a different court
Maxwell’s lawyers argued the depositions were confidential and under a protective order, and federal prosecutors in her sex trafficking case wrongfully got a hold of the documents and used them to form some of the charges against her.
They claim Maxwell was set up for a ‘perjury trap’, alleging Giuffre was ‘privy to and participating in an ongoing criminal investigation’ in 2015 and 2016 where Maxwell was a ‘person of interest’ in that case.
Maxwell’s attorney Ty Gee wrote that despite a court order that prevented Giuffre from handing over the deposition to law enforcement, the transcript was still leaked to New York prosecutors.
Meanwhile, Epstein victims are fearful that sex tapes and photos featuring them being abused could be described as part of the unsealed evidence and eventually shown in court during Maxwell’s criminal trial, DailyMail.com can disclose.
High profile attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents six Epstein victims, says her clients are ‘very concerned’ and she hopes prosecutors will notify victims first if any footage of them is to be used in court.
Maxwell’s lawyers argued the depositions were confidential and under a protective order, and federal prosecutors in her sex trafficking case wrongfully got a hold of the documents and used them to form some of the charges against her
Epstein victims are fearful that sex tapes and photographs featuring them being abused could be described as part of the unsealed evidence and eventually shown in court during Maxwell’s criminal trial, DailyMail.com can disclose. Pictured: Epstein survivor Virginia Roberts Giuffre
‘We know that the FBI got hundreds of photos a year ago, but what about the recordings, what about the videos? We know that Epstein did record a lot,’ she said.
‘Even with the news of the photos, my clients were very concerned, ”are their nude photos of me in the hands of the FBI right now?”, they are very concerned about that, ‘do they show me underage in a sex act?’
‘My clients want to know if there are any images that were retrieved from Epstein’s home and that’s still something that causes them a lot of anguish even now a year later.
‘What’s more, should any of this footage be presented in court we would like to be notified first if any of our clients are depicted.’
Another attorney, Florida based lawyer Spencer Kuvin, who also reps six Epstein victims, said his clients are ‘incredibly embarrassed and upset’ that footage could be aired in a courtroom.
‘Any active prosecution that may involve video tapes or the fear of video tapes being utilized by the prosecution is going to bring about anxiety to my clients,’ he said.
‘Having said that my clients would want Ghislaine Maxwell to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, as well as any co-conspirators.’
Of the six young women Kuvin reps in the Epstein case two were involved in the original case against the now deceased billionaire financier in 2007/2008. One of these women was in the probable cause affidavit, Kuvin says.
He told DailyMail.com: ‘One of the things that my clients were worried about, even back then, was that there were cameras in Epstein’s home in Palm Beach that recorded various different sex acts that they may have been involved in and they were incredibly embarrassed and upset as young women that they would be seen in these images and that they may be used in any prosecution.’
High profile attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents six Epstein victims, says her clients are ‘very concerned’ about the footage
The attorney added: ‘We would ask that if the federal government is in possession of any of this material that it be destroyed after the prosecution is complete.’
The upcoming release of the unsealed documents could include details about Maxwell’s sex life that her lawyers have previously tried to stop from being released, relating to a seven-hour, 418-page deposition Maxwell gave, which her legal team said was ‘extremely personal, confidential’.
They will also include communications between Maxwell and Epstein from January 2015 when Roberts made explosive allegations about them in court papers.
In the papers Roberts claimed she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times when she was just 17 at Epstein’s command.
The case ruled on last Thursday was originally brought by Roberts, now a 36-year-old mother-of-three who lives in Australia and goes by her married name Virginia Giuffre.
She sued Maxwell in 2015 for defamation because Maxwell accused her of lying.
Roberts said in court filings that Maxwell recruited her and other girls into a sex trafficking ring for ‘politically connected and financially powerful people’.
The case was settled in 2017 for an undisclosed sum but media organizations sued for documents in the case to be made public.
During last week’s hearing at Manhattan’s federal court, Judge Preska said Maxwell’s right to privacy was outweighed by the need for the documents to become public.
The upcoming release of the unsealed documents could include details about Maxwell’s sex life that her lawyers have previously tried to stop from being released, relating to a seven-hour, 418-page deposition Maxwell gave, which her legal team said was ‘extremely personal, confidential’
She went through the dozens of documents, which included Giuffre’s depositions and various dull-sounding legal papers.
The contents however could be explosive and may contain fresh evidence against the wealthy elite who socialized with Epstein.
The lawsuit to release the documents was originally filed by the Miami Herald and their reporter Julie Brown, whose series on Epstein called ‘Perversion of Justice’ in 2018 put renewed focus on the case and led to his arrest last July.
As a result there are thousands of pages of documents which are being released on a rolling basis.
Each time a person’s name comes up they are notified and given the chance to make objections to their name becoming public.
There were two John Does in this latest batch but they did not make any complaints when approached to make any comments, according to court filings.
The Second Circuit had already ordered 2,000 pages of documents to be made public and they were released last August, the day before Epstein killed himself.
The documents included the unpublished manuscript of a memoir from Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts which detailed her years of abuse by him.
The documents will also include communications between Maxwell and Epstein from January 2015 when Virginia Roberts made explosive allegations about them in court papers. In the papers Roberts claimed that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew (pictured together) three times when she was 17 at Epstein’s command
There were depositions from Epstein’s pilots, his former associates and flight logs showing him traveling the globe with his victims and famous people such as Bill Clinton.
Among those who have taken an interest in the defamation case are lawyers for a ‘John Doe’ who appears to be somebody who will be featured in the documents.
His identity is unclear but the powerful men who have been accused of involvement with Epstein include former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barack.
On Monday, Maxwell’s legal team fought to have any incriminating nude photos and sexualized videos of Maxwell marked ‘highly confidential’ in her sex trafficking trial.
Prosecutors and Maxwell’s lawyers are currently hammering out an agreement on how sensitive documents in the high-profile case should be handled before they hand over to each other the evidence they plan to use at trial.
The reference to videos appears in a proposed version of the agreement lodged by Maxwell’s lawyers.
The proposed order says any ‘Highly Confidential Information’ either side plans to use in the case remains sealed and can only be viewed behind closed doors with lawyers present.
‘Highly Confidential Information contains nude, partially-nude, or otherwise sexualized images, videos, or other depictions of individuals,’ the court documents said.
The wording of the legal filing raises the prospect that the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York could be sitting on explicit photos and videos for their explosive case against Maxwell, the alleged madam to late billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.