A Manhattan appeals court has ruled that the 2016 testimony of Jeffrey Epstein’s former partner in a now-settled lawsuit can be made public.
The Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit in New York found that English socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s argument against its release was ‘meritless’, and that the lower court had “applied the correct legal framework” in making its original decision in July.
The 418-page document could become public within days as a result of the ruling, despite the best efforts of Maxwell’s lawyers who argued that its publication would prejudice her right to a fair trial.
The three-judge panel upheld the lower court’s assertion that there was a presumption of public access to the deposition materials.
Maxwell originally made two depositions as part of a defamation case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims to have been forced to have sex with Prince Andrew, among others.
The case was settled in 2017, but media outlets have applied for access to the testimony, which is being permitted in a staggered manner.
The first documents were unsealed last August, with a host of famous personalities named by Giuffre as allegedly being involved in Epstein’s abuse.
These include former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and Epstein’s lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Lawyer for Ms. Giuffre Sigrid McCawley said he was ‘pleased’ with the court’s ruling this week.
“It is an important step towards vindicating the public interest in understanding the scope and scale of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring and the efforts made to conceal it,” he said.
Maxwell will stand trial next summer on charges of recruiting girls as young as 14 for Epstein to sexually abuse in the 1990s, facing up to 35 years in prison if found guilty.