Federal court moves to unseal documents in Jeffrey Epstein scandal
The story behind a Palm Beach sex offender’s remarkable deal
Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, despite sexually abusing dozens of underage girls according to police and prosecutors. His victims have never had a voice, until now.
A federal court of appeals in New York on Monday took the first step in unsealing documents that could reveal evidence of an international sex trafficking operation allegedly run by multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and his former partner, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
The three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit gave the parties until March 19 to establish good cause as to why they should remain sealed and, failing to do so, the summary judgment and supporting documents will be made public. The court reserved a ruling on the balance of the documents in the civil case, including discovery materials.
“We’re grateful that the court ruled the summary judgment papers are open and they are moving to expedite having them unsealed,’’ said Sanford Bohrer, the attorney representing the Miami Herald, which filed the motion last year to have the entire case file opened. The Herald’s appeal is supported by 32 other media companies, including the New York Times and Washington Post.
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Ghislaine Maxwell was sued for slander after calling Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, a liar. Maxwell, a close associate of Epstein, sought to have documents from the court case remain sealed.
The case, which was settled in 2017, contains more than 1,000 documents, lawyers said during oral arguments in New York on Wednesday. Maxwell is the sole party fighting to keep the case sealed.
Most of the documents, including court orders and motions, were filed under seal or heavily redacted, similar to other cases in New York and Florida involving Epstein, a wealthy, politically connected money manager. Epstein, 66, was not a party to the lawsuit, which was filed against Maxwell in 2015 by Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Giuffre claimed in the lawsuit that she was recruited by Maxwell at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, when she was 16 years old. Giuffre had been working at the resort’s spa when Maxwell approached her and asked her whether she wanted to become a masseuse for Epstein. Giuffre claimed that the massages were a ruse for Epstein and Maxwell to sexually abuse her and other underage girls, some of whom were trafficked to other influential people, from 1999 to 2002.
Maxwell settled the case before trial, resulting in several millions paid to Giuffre, sources have told the Herald. Maxwell, now an environmentalist, has denied all the allegations. Epstein’s attorney, Martin G. Weinberg, has not responded to emails and calls made by the Herald seeking comment.
But in an op-ed letter to The New York Times last week, Weinberg and three of Epstein’s other lawyers — including Kenneth Starr, known for his pursuit of President Bill Clinton over his sexual conduct — denied that Epstein ever ran a sex trafficking operation.
“The number of young women involved in the investigation has been vastly exaggerated, there was no ‘international sex-trafficking operation’ and there was never evidence that Mr. Epstein ‘hosted sex parties’ at his home,” the lawyers wrote.
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Attorneys for Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz , two other parties to the appeal, also argued to unseal the entire case file. Dershowitz’s lawyer, Andrew G. Celli Jr., wanted the court to release three documents immediately, saying they were necessary to clear the name of his client, who has been accused of being involved in Epstein’s crimes.
Dershowitz was among a team of lawyers who represented Epstein when he came under criminal investigation in Palm Beach in 2005. Epstein was accused by more than three dozen girls, most of them 13 to 16, of luring them to his mansion to give him massages that turned into sex acts. He then used those same girls to recruit more girls over a period of several years, court and police records show.
How a teen runaway became one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims
Virginia Roberts was working at Mar-a-Lago when she was recruited to be a masseuse to Palm Beach hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein. She was lured into a life of depravity and sexual abuse.
Giuffre said she was directed by Epstein to have sex with Dershowitz when she was underage. Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard University and constitutional law scholar, claims the case file contains documents that will prove that she is lying.
Giuffre’s lawyer, Paul Cassell, however, told the appeals court that the case file will establish that she is telling the truth.
In 2008, Epstein received a controversial plea deal that gave him and an untold number of others who were not named immunity from federal prosecution. The non-prosecution agreement, brokered by former Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, is now the focus of a Justice Department investigation.
Acosta, now President Trump’s labor secretary, has said that the deal was approved at the highest levels of the agency.
A federal judge ruled on Feb. 22 that the deal was illegal because Acosta kept it from Epstein’s victims in violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, a federal law that grants victims certain rights, including the right to be told about a plea deal and to appear at sentencing.
A Miami Herald investigation, “Perversion of Justice,’’ showed that Acosta and other prosecutors deliberately kept Epstein’s victims in the dark so that they could not appear at his sentencing and possibly derail the deal. The sentencing judge was also misled about the scope of Epstein’s crimes and how many girls he abused, records indicate.
The U.S. attorney in Atlanta has been assigned to review the non-prosecution agreement in the wake of the Feb. 22 ruling. Epstein’s victim’s want the deal thrown out — which would set a precedent.
As part of the deal, Epstein pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges in state court.
Epstein’s lawyers indicated that they intend to fight any effort to void his immunity agreement.
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“Mr. Epstein has gone to prison and made enormous monetary settlements relying on his negotiated agreement. He is entitled to finality like every other defendant,’’ the lawyers said.
Epstein did not go to prison, but served 13 months in a private section of the Palm Beach County jail, where he was allowed to leave for 12 hours a day to go to his office in West Palm Beach under a work release program that is normally not granted to convicted sex offenders.
Andy emails Audrey all the time. They are a perfect match.. he has really fallen for her; TEE FOR TWO AS FRENCH GOLFING BEAUTY PARTNERS PRINCE AT WINDSOR.
THIS is French beauty Audrey Raimbault - the latest woman to catch Prince Andrew's roving eye.
The stunning blonde, who shares Andrew's passion for golf, has made regular trips to England to spend time with the Duke Of York.
Andrew, 40, became besotted with Audrey, who at 23 is nearly half his age, when he met her at the Ryder Cup in America last September.
Since then, he has invited Audrey, a talented golfer who shares his handicap of eight, to visit him in Windsor on at least two occasions last week.
He is even said to have taken her into Buckingham Palace for a tour of his private quarters.
Friends say they have bonded because of their love of the game and regularly play together.
"Andrew is a golf fanatic and so is Audrey, so they immediately hit it off," says a friend of Audrey.
"She is a very fit and sporty girl and certainly keeps Andrew on his toes on the golf course. They have formed a very close friendship because they have a lot in common.
"There is no doubt Andrew has fallen for her. When they are apart, he bombards her with emails and phone calls.
"She is the perfect woman for him. She shares his love of golf and is an intelligent, attractive woman."
Only last week it emerged that supermodel turned singer Caprice enjoyed a dinner date with Andrew.
He invited her to celebrate his birthday two weeks ago at St James's Palace after they met at a charity bash. But insiders say the pair have only ever been friends and are not dating.
ANDREW first spotted slim Audrey in the Ryder Cup clubhouse at Brookline, Massachusetts last September. They got chatting and immediately hit it off, say friends.
He gave her his email address and they began exchanging phonecalls. He eventually invited her to visit him and she leapt at the chance to travel over to Britain.
Friends say Audrey will have no problems getting to grips with Andrew's royal lifestyle.
She has an immaculate family pedigree and regularly attends high-society balls in Monte Carlo where royals such as Prince Albert Of Monaco are among the guests.
She lives in an upmarket apartment in Paris but spends a lot of time at her parents' exclusive pounds 1 million chateau on the French Riviera.
The five-bedroom mansion is high in the hills above Monte Carlo with sweeping views across the city.
Audrey is also far from lacking ambition. She jetted from Nice to London's Heathrow last Tuesday for a meeting with TV company CNBC Sports International to talk about doing some work for them.
Yesterday the station declined to comment on the meeting.
Audrey, a film school graduate and budding actress, has bombarded other sports TV companies with her impressive CV which includes parts in Hollywood films. Listing her stage name as Rimbaud, she was the body double for Leonardo DiCaprio's co-star Judith Godreche in the 1997 hit movie The Man With The Iron Mask.
Audrey also features alongside Daryl Hannah and Tom Berenger in the yet-to-be-released movie Diplomatic Siege.
The well-connected blonde was even a jury member at the Paris Film Festival in 1998 - presided over by Madonna's ex-husband Sean Penn.
Well-travelled Audrey, who speaks three languages including English and Spanish, has studied film at New York University and attended some of France's top film schools. She has also appeared in a host of theatre roles in France including Richard III and Romeo And Juliet.
IN THE last five years she has worked on and off for a firm called PromoGolf, regularly attending some of the world's most prestigious golf tournaments.
She is also a keen tennis player, skier and swimmer.
Audrey is the tenth woman to be romantically linked to Andrew - dubbed "Randy Andy" in his bachelor days - since his marriage to Fergie ended eight years ago. And they all have one thing in common - beauty and professional success.
His last extended relationship was in 1998 with PR executive Aurelia Cecil, 33, who he dated for 10 months. Later the Prince was linked with ex-model Heather Mann.
Ironically Heather, 30, a gems specialist for London auctioneer Christie's, was introduced to Andrew by Fergie.
Last year, a private eye caught Andrew on video dining with tycoon's wife Melissa Lincoln at her Hawaii home. Andrew was named in legal papers when the couple filed for divorce. Then last week it emerged that he'd entertained Caprice at St James's Palace.
Yesterday, Audrey was taking part in an amateur golf tournament at the Monte Carlo Golf Club. A spokesman said: "Ms Raimbault is on the course and you won't be able to speak to her."
When asked about her relationship with Andrew last week, Audrey insisted: "Yes, I know him. We are golfers and friends from golf. I met Andrew at the Ryder Cup.