Court scuttles Ghislaine Maxwell bid to keep Epstein disclosure confidential
NEW YORK (US) – In what is seen as a shocking blow to Ghislaine Maxwell, an appeals court has refused to ban the release of a deposition she gave regarding her relationship with the late financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said there was a presumption the public had the authority to go through Maxwell’s deposition, running into 418 pages and taken in April 2016 for a civil defamation lawsuit against her, which has now been settled.
The court said District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan in no way abused her discretion in dismissing Maxwell’s arguments that lacked merit.
The court order upheld the decision of Preska taken in July to release the deposition and hundreds of other documents concerning the lawsuit filed in 2015 by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers.
The case was settled two years later and many documents related to it are in the public domain.
On the other hand, Maxwell’s lawyers argue that negative publicity resulting from disclosure of “intimate, sensitive, and personal details” from the deposition could affect her ability to defend herself against criminal charges that she enabled the financier’s sexual abuses.
Lawyers said that the British socialite believed her deposition would remain confidential, and that releasing it goes against her constitutional right against self-incrimination and imperil a fair trial as lawyers might use its contents against her.
The appeals court also dismissed her plea to alter a protective order in her criminal case, so she could access confidential materials hoping it would persuade Preska to keep the deposition under wraps.
The 58-year-old has pleaded not guilty to aiding the financier recruit and groom girls, including minors, for illicit sexual acts in the mid-1990s. The trial is slated for July next year.