Tags: jeffrey epstein | documents | judge | release | sex | abuse | minors

Epstein Saga Enters New Phase. Will Anyone Else Be Ensnared?

Epstein Saga Enters New Phase. Will Anyone Else Be Ensnared?

Sunday, 21 July 2019 08:51 AM

Since Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest, the speculation has mounted. Will any among the rich and powerful he courted be caught up in the case?

Some answers might come soon. A judge could decide on July 24 how and when to unseal a trove of documents -- some 2,000 pages worth -- in connection with a civil lawsuit filed by an Epstein accuser against his one-time companion Ghislaine Maxwell. The papers may reveal allegations of sexual abuse involving people described in court filings as “prominent individuals.”

That civil suit and its remnants have been in the courts for four years. But, in a startling coincidence of timing, an appeals panel ruled just three days before the wealthy financier was taken into custody on July 6 that the documents should be unsealed. The long-running Epstein saga entered a new chapter.

“It’s what everyone is betting -- that it’s going to get interesting,” said an investment banker who asked not to be identified. “Like the rest of New York, I’m waiting.”

Maxwell, daughter of the late British publisher Robert Maxwell, asked on July 17 that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reconsider the unsealing order, saying the media’s “furious feeding frenzy” over Epstein justifies keeping the documents under wraps.

If the request is granted, the documents won’t be unsealed anytime soon, and it’s unclear whether the lower-court judge, Loretta Preska, will hold the scheduled hearing.

Meanwhile, the criminal case will move forward with a conference in court on July 31, when the judge will set out a calendar for pre-trial motions and hearings. The case will play out over months, if not a year.

Epstein -- who traveled in political, social and financial circles for more than 30 years -- pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually exploited and abused dozens of girls from 2002 to 2005. Some of his accusers have said they were farmed out to other men.

The charges were leveled in New York a decade after Epstein was released from the county jail in Palm Beach, where he served 13 months and was allowed to work in his West Palm Beach office most days. That was part of a secretive deal, chronicled in a series in the Miami Herald, in which he pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting an underage girl for sex and avoided federal prosecution.

This time, Epstein, 66, faces decades in prison. He was denied bail and is jailed in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan; he asked to await trial in his mansion near Central Park but U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said he posed too serious a “danger to the community” and was a flight risk.

It’s possible that prosecutors are pursuing additional charges against Epstein or others. At a press conference after Epstein’s arrest, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman declined to say when asked if anyone else was under investigation.

The government said investigators found thousands of lewd photographs of what appeared to be underage women after a search of Epstein’s Manhattan home. Prosecutors also argued in a filing opposing bail that there were “credible allegations” he had engaged in “witness tampering, harassment or other obstructive behaviors.”

The civil proceeding involving the sealed documents is related to a defamation suit filed in 2015. The plaintiff was Virginia Giuffre, a Floridian who claimed Epstein sexually abused her for two years starting in 2000, when she was 16, and that Maxwell participated. Giuffre sued after Maxwell publicly called her a liar. The documents in question were filed in connection with a summary-judgment motion in the case, which was settled.

Giuffre first accused Epstein in December 2014 when she attempted to join a suit by two other of his accusers who sought to nullify the federal non-prosecution agreement in Florida. In her request, Giuffre included descriptions of abuse by Epstein and other prominent individuals “including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders,” the three-member appeals court panel said in ordering the unsealing.

Maxwell wants the full appeals court to reconsider the unsealing order. “The media have shown an insatiable appetite for any shred of information/speculation to publish and broadcast since Mr. Epstein’s arrest,” Maxwell said, and that interest could result in “due process concerns” for Epstein and other potential prosecution targets and witnesses.

Giuffre filed another suit in April, claiming Epstein forced her to have sex with his lawyer Alan Dershowitz and that he defamed her by calling her a liar on Twitter. Dershowitz has denied her claims and asked that the case be thrown out. “Anyone who’s falsely accused should have a right to respond,” he said.

In the criminal case, prosecutors will now share their evidence with Epstein’s lawyers. That’s likely to include bank and travel records, witness statements and material seized from phones, laptops and other devices.

Epstein’s lawyers will spend months reviewing it all, mapping out how they will mount a defense at trial. The defense will also file dismissal requests based on the law. One claim is likely to be that the non-prosecution deal in Florida bars the government from bringing new charges, even in New York.

© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Since Jeffrey Epstein's arrest, the speculation has mounted. Will any among the rich and powerful he courted be caught up in the case?Some answers might come soon. A judge could decide on July 24 how and when to unseal a trove of documents -- some 2,000 pages worth -- in...
jeffrey epstein, documents, judge, release, sex, abuse, minors
Sunday, 21 July 2019 08:51 AM
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