This week, a judge ordered important documents relating to Ghislaine Maxwell’s criminal case to be unsealed, and struck down a proposal from her legal team to keep them private, but few details were revealed at first and many questions remained unanswered. What is contained in the documents and what were Maxwell’s attorneys seeking to gain from their proposal?
In short, lawyers for Maxwell attempted to silence Jeffrey Epstein’s victims through the courts, by requesting that a judge block the victims from posting about evidence from the criminal case online. The terms proposed by Maxwell’s legal team also attempted to dictate which evidence could be seen in court.
The lawyers argued that the victims could use evidence that was revealed in the criminal trial to gain an advantage in their separate civil lawsuits. Maxwell’s lawyers have said that they are restricted from publicizing information obtained during the trial, and they believe that the victims should be held to the same standards. Luckily, a judge struck down the proposal, and ordered the documents to be unsealed this week, which means that they will be entered into discovery for those involved in the trial. This does not mean that the press will have any access to the files, though it is assumed that we will get the details after they come out in court.
It appears that Maxwell was especially concerned about certain videos and photographic evidence. In most trials involving sexual assault, participants are often blocked from releasing any information to the press or the internet that involves “nude, partially-nude, or otherwise sexualized images, videos, or other depictions of individuals”.
However, prosecutors have argued that victims should not be subject to these rules, which has raised complaints from the defense.
“There is a substantial concern that these individuals will seek to use discovery materials to support their civil cases and future public statements,” the lawyers wrote, according to The Guardian.
A report by Law and Crime suggested that this appears to be a maneuver by Maxwell’s attorneys to prevent vital evidence from being brought against her in court.
“In other words, Maxwell wants the judge in the ongoing civil case involving the release of the Epstein files to stop the government from using some of those files in the criminal prosecution against her — and she wants to maintain the secrecy regime even longer due to the alleged prosecutorial misconduct,” the report stated.
— julie k. brown (@jkbjournalist) July 29, 2020
While it is not entirely clear what exactly is in these files, it is suspected that they contain video and photographic evidence of Epstein and Maxwell’s powerful friends in compromising situations, possibly even sexually assaulting underage girls. Many witnesses who were close to Epstein or had knowledge of his crimes have suggested that he videotaped and audio-recorded every single thing that happened on his island and the expensive mansions where the abuse took place. It is likely that the information that Maxwell is so concerned about in these documents is the footage that was gathered during her criminal activities with Epstein.