Ghislaine Maxwell lawyers say accusers might misuse criminal evidence

Ghislaine Maxwell lawyers say accusers might misuse criminal evidence
Ghislaine Maxwell

Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell have asked a judge to stop her accusers from using evidence in the criminal case to boost civil lawsuits by posting material to the internet.

The lawyers say attorneys for women who claim Maxwell recruited them for Jeffrey Epstein and abused them should be subject to the same secrecy rules as prosecutors and Maxwell’s defence lawyers.

The lawyers said it was one topic that prosecutors and defence lawyers for the British socialite could not agree on as they composed a proposed agreement to keep evidence secret before a trial scheduled in Manhattan federal court for July next year.

The proposed order, submitted to a judge on Monday, would prevent prosecutors and Maxwell’s lawyers from releasing any information to the internet or elsewhere, including “nude, partially nude or otherwise sexualised images, videos or other depictions of individuals”.

Ghislaine Maxwell (Jim James/PA)

The joint protective order is routine in sex abuse cases, but the lawyers said in a letter to the judge that prosecutors have refused to agree that witnesses in the trial and their lawyers should be subject to the secrecy rules.

Maxwell’s lawyers cited current civil litigation between Maxwell and “many of the government’s potential witnesses”, saying numerous potential witnesses and their lawyers have already publicly commented about the case.

“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.

Prosecutors said they will respond on Tuesday.

Maxwell, 58, who has been held without bail since her arrest several weeks ago, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she recruited and aided the abuse of three girls by Epstein in the 1990s.

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail last August as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges related to the abuse of women and girls in Manhattan and Florida in the early 2000s.

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox