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Federal court moves to unseal documents in Jeffrey Epstein scandal

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.

AG nominee Barr pledges to look into handling of Epstein case

Sen. Ben Sasse questioned attorney general nominee William Barr about the Jeffrey Epstein case on January 15, 2019, getting the nominee to commit to having the Department of Justice look into the handling of that case if confirmed.

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.
Where are they now? The biggest players in the Jeffrey Epstein case

The girls who were abused by Jeffrey Epstein and the cops who championed their cause remain angry over what they regard as a gross injustice, while Epstein's employees and those who engineered his non-prosecution agreement have prospered.

By Marta Oliver Craviotto | Emily Michot | Julie K. Brown
“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.

Link/Page Citation 
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. 

Flight Logs Put Clinton, Dershowitz on Pedophile Billionaire’s Sex Jet

Filed to: SEX CRIMES

Bill Clinton took repeated trips on the " Lolita Express"—the private passenger jet owned by billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein—with an actress in softcore porn movies whose name appears in Epstein's address book under an entry for "massages," according to flight logbooks obtained by Gawker and published today for the first time. The logs also show that Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a "potential co-conspirator" in his crimes.
Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 in Florida to one count of soliciting underage girls for sex (and one count of adult solicitation), for which he served just over a year in county jail. But sprawling local, state, and federal investigations into the eccentric investor's habit of paying teen girls for "massages"—sessions during which he would allegedly penetrate girls with sex toys, demand to be masturbated, and have intercourse—turned up a massive network of victims, including 35 female minors whom federal prosecutors believed he'd sexually abused. He has reportedly settled lawsuits from more than 30 "Jane Doe" victims since 2008; the youngest alleged victim was 12 years old at the time of her abuse.

Epstein's predatory past, and his now-inconvenient relationships with a Who's Who of the Davos set, hit the front pages again earlier this month when one of his victims, Virginia Roberts, claimed in a federal court filing that Epstein recruited her as a "sex slave" at the age of 15 and "sexually trafficked [her] to politically-connected and financially-powerful people," including Prince Andrew and attorney Alan Dershowitz. (The latter, the filing claimed, had sex with the victim "on private planes"; Dershowitz vigorously denies the charges, as does Prince Andrew.)
Two female associates of Epstein—the socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein's former assistant Sarah Kellen—have been repeatedly accused in court filings of acting as pimps for him, recruiting and grooming young girls into their network of child sex workers, and frequently participating in sex acts with them. Kellen in particular was believed by detectives in the Palm Beach Police Department, which was the first to start unraveling the operation, to be so deeply involved in the enterprise that they prepared a warrant for her arrest as an accessory to molestation and sex with minors. In the end, she was never arrested or charged, and federal prosecutors granted her immunity in a 2007 non-prosecution agreement that described her as a "potential co-conspirator" in sex trafficking.

Maxwell, the daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, has been accused by Roberts of photographing Epstein's victims "in sexually explicit poses and [keeping] the child pornography on her computer," and "engag[ing] in lesbian sex with the underage females she procured for Epstein." She has denied the allegations in the past.
Clinton shared Epstein's plane with Kellen and Maxwell on at least 11 flights in 2002 and 2003—before any of the allegations against them became public—according to the pilots' logbooks, which have surfaced in civil litigation surrounding Epstein's crimes. In January 2002, for instance, Clinton, his aide Doug Band, and Clinton's Secret Service detail are listed on a flight from Japan to Hong Kong with Epstein, Maxwell, Kellen, and two women described only as "Janice" and "Jessica." One month later, records show, Clinton hopped a ride from Miami to Westchester on a flight that also included Epstein, Maxwell, Kellen, and a woman described only as "one female."

In 2002, as New York has reported, Clinton recruited Epstein to make his plane available for a week-long anti-poverty and anti-AIDS tour of Africa with Kevin Spacey, Chris Tucker, billionaire creep Ron Burkle, Clinton confidant Gayle Smith (who now serves on Barack Obama's National Security Council), and others. The logs from that trip show that Maxwell, Kellen, and a woman named Chauntae Davis joined the entourage for five days.
That last name—Chauntae Davies—shows up elsewhere in papers unearthed by the various investigations into Epstein's sex ring: his little black book. Davies is one of 27 women listed in the book under an entry for "Massage- California," one of six lists of massage girls Epstein kept in various locales, with a total of 160 names around the globe, many of them underage victims.

Today, Davies is an actress with credits including HBO's Enlightened. In 2002, she was 23. According to her IMDB profile, in addition to her apparent massage work for Epstein, she landed a role that year as a "lingerie model" in Exposed, a movie produced by a softcore porn company called MRG Entertainment. (Other MRG films include Deviant Desires and Carnal Confessions; the company has since been purchased by Larry Flynt. Exposed, appropriately enough, was directed by a pseudonymous auteur who went by the name of Clinton J. Williams.) Davies's role in Clinton's flying AIDS-prevention circus isn't clear, and though her LinkedIn page claims a certificate in Swedish massage, there is no evidence that she ever actually treated Epstein to one. Reached via e-mail, she said only, "I really am not interested in being slandered in the media for having known this person a time ago. Some of the things being said are not things I have information on."
Clinton's office did not respond to an inquiry. Kellen and Maxwell did not return messages.
Other prominent figures whose names appear in the logs, which document globe-spanning flights on Epstein's planes during various periods from 1997 to 2005, include Dershowitz, former Treasury Secretary and Harvard president Larry Summers, Naomi Campbell, and scientist Stephen Pinker.
The logs also cast doubt on public statements made by Dershowitz, who has been vigorously downplaying his relationship with Epstein since Roberts levied her accusations against him. Dershowitz has attempted to paint himself as a mere passing acquaintance of Epstein, suggesting to the American Lawyer last week that he only began hanging around the billionaire to fundraise for his school, Harvard.
Q. From what I've read, your relationship with Epstein seemed chummy. You socialized with him and you and your family stayed at his various homes. Isn't it a bad idea for a lawyer to be so close to a notorious client?
A. Let me tell you how I met him. I was introduced to him by Lady de Rothschild as an academic colleague. He was friendly with Larry Summers… He was in the process of contributing $50 million to Harvard for evolutionary biology.
Epstein did indeed pledge a substantial donation to Harvard's Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, though it was $30 million, not $50 million. The first installment of $6.5 million was announced in 2003. And Epstein was indeed friendly with Summers, who assumed the mantle of president at Harvard in July 2001. The clear implication of Dershowitz's answer is that he didn't start hanging out with Epstein until it was in his interest to, because Epstein was the boss' friend and was donating money to his university.
What's more, Dershowitz told the American Lawyer, he is loyal to his wife, who is always by his side: "I've been married to the same woman for 28 years. She goes with me everywhere. People know that I won't argue a case or give a speech unless my wife travels with me. This is not the profile of someone who screws around."
But according to the flight logs, Dershowitz was close enough to Epstein to have accompanied him on a flight from Palm Beach to New Jersey's Teterboro Airport as early as December 1997. On that flight, the pair was accompanied by a number of people, including one unidentified "female," a "Hazel," a "Claire," and Maxwell.
The logs also show Dershowitz on a flight with Epstein from Bedford, Mass., to Teterboro in October 1998, and a flight from Teterboro to Martha's Vineyard in 1999. And a 2005 trip from Massachusetts to Montreal shows him traveling with Epstein, "Tatianna," and others.
One things the logs don't show: Dershowitz's wife traveling with him.
In an interview with Gawker, Dershowitz repeated his emphatic denials of ever having sexual contact with any underaged girls, and acknowledged that he first met Epstein way back in 1997. "It was just before [ Epstein confidant] Les Wexner's 60th birthday," Dershowitz said. "My first substantive contact with him was to fly with him to Les Wexner's house to attend dinner with Shimon Peres and John Glenn."

As for who else was on those flights, Dershowitz couldn't recall. Hazel? "I don't know." Claire? "I have no idea." Tatianna? "I think that was a woman in her 20s who was Epstein's girlfriend, but I never flew with her." The unidentified female? "That could have been my mother."
As for why his ever-present wife didn't appear in the flight logs by his side, Dershowitz said that she did accompany him on several Epstein-sponsored trips that don't show up in the logs obtained by Gawker. (It is also possible that the logs, which pilots generally keep primarily to record hours of flight time, could also be incomplete or inaccurate as to the passengers.) "She travels with me all over. On occasion, she's working or travels separately. I travel with her almost all the time, not all the time."
One thing is for sure, though: "I have a very clear, unequivocal recollection that I was never on a plane with any young women, period."
In the same American Lawyer interview, Dershowitz claimed that his relationship with Epstein was "entirely professional," and that allegations that the two were "chummy" were "a total bum rap."
Contrast that with his testimonials to Vanity Fair in a 2003, pre-pedophilia profile of Epstein:

• "Alan Dershowitz says that, as he was getting to know Epstein, his wife asked him if he would still be close to him if Epstein suddenly filed for bankruptcy. Dershowitz says he replied, 'Absolutely. I would be as interested in him as a friend if we had hamburgers on the boardwalk in Coney Island and talked about his ideas.'"
• Dershowitz also said of Epstein: "I'm on my 20th book. . . . The only person outside my immediate family that I send drafts to is Jeffrey."
Asked how those comments tracked with his more recent portrayal of his relationship with Epstein, Dershowitz said simply: "He was a friend with whom I talked about ideas. We never discussed women or his social life."
If Dershowitz was a good friend to Epstein, he was a better lawyer. Along with a dream team of attorneys that included Gerald Lefcourt, Roy Black, and Ken Starr, he was successful in getting federal investigators not to charge Epstein with moving his victims across state lines and other associated crimes. The federal non-prosecution agreement Epstein's legal team negotiated with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida immunized all named and unnamed "potential co-conspirators" in Epstein's child trafficking network, which includes those who allegedly procured minors for Epstein and also any powerbrokers who may have molested them. Although Dershowitz wasn't a signatory to the plea agreement, the latest filings in Roberts's case against Epstein accuse Dershowitz of essentially negotiating his own immunity:
Dershowitz would later play a significant role in negotiating the NPA on Epstein's behalf. Indeed, Dershowitz helped negotiate an agreement that provided immunity from federal prosecution in the Southern District of Florida not only to Epstein, but also to "any potential co-conspirators of Epstein". . . . Thus, Dershowitz helped negotiate an agreement with a provision that provided protection for himself against criminal prosecution in Florida for sexually abusing Jane Doe #3.
Dershowitz says the self-immunity accusation is preposterous, and that while he negotiated its broad outlines, he never read the agreement and wasn't involved in drafting the language. Besides, he says, "If I had had sex with Virginia Roberts, which I didn't, I wouldn't be a co-conspirator, I'd be a perpetrator," and thus not immune under the agreement, he told Gawker. "I did not know this woman, I did not touch this woman, and the entire story is made up out of whole cloth."
Dershowitz has pledged to seek disbarment of Roberts's attorneys, which include the respected former federal judge Paul Cassell, telling the American Lawyer: "Either [Cassell] will be disbarred or I will be. And if I knowingly had sex with a sex slave then I would deserve disbarment."
Flight Logs Put Clinton, Dershowitz on Pedophile Billionaire’s Sex Jet

Click to view all documents

Correction: Due to an editing error, this post originally confused Bedford, Mass., with Bedminster, Mass.
A woman suing in connection with Jeffrey Epstein’s underage sex ring claims she was first approached while working as a towel girl at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

NEW YORK—A woman who claims in a lawsuit that she was lured into a sex-trafficking ring run by billionaire Jeffrey Epstein contends that the depravity began at a Florida resort now known as the winter White House: Mar-a-Lago.

Virginia Giuffre’s civil suit, scheduled to go to trial here later this month, threatens to expose new details of a long-running saga tying together President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, and other prominent figures, including Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz.

Epstein, a well-connected Manhattan money manager and philanthropist, was once a regular at Mar-a-Lago and an active supporter of the Clinton Foundation—repeatedly lending his 727 jet to Clinton for trips overseas. Dershowitz defended Epstein amid an investigation into his involvement with underage girls more than a decade ago, and it was Acosta—then the U.S. attorney overseeing south Florida—who allowed Epstein’s case to be resolved in state court in 2008.

The scandal has spawned a series of drawn-out civil suits, including Giuffre’s.

Giuffre, formerly Roberts, claims she was 15 and working as a towel girl at Trump’s posh Palm Beach club when she was recruited nearly two decades ago into sexual slavery by socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, then Epstein’s girlfriend.

A lawyer for Trump says the president was unaware of any wrongdoing by Epstein.

The case is scheduled for a May 15 trial, but a final pretrial conference was abruptly canceled Thursday. The development raised suspicions that some type of settlement could be in the works.

In recent months, the suit attracted the attention of pro-Trump blogger Mike Cernovich, who intervened in the case in an unsuccessful push to release a large volume of blacked-out court filings.

“I want to know what’s really going on and we can’t get it,” Cernovich told POLITICO. “This is a big story. My people care.”

Epstein pleaded guilty to two charges: solicitation of prostitution and soliciting a minor for prostitution. He served 13 months in a county jail and paid financial settlements to many of the roughly 40 women the FBI deemed to be his victims, including Giuffre.

Giuffre asserts in her complaint that Maxwell, the sole defendant in the suit and the daughter of late publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, routinely recruited underaged girls for Epstein and was doing so when she approached the $9-an-hour locker room attendant at Mar-a-Lago in 1999 about giving massages to the wealthy investment banker.

Susan Rice is pictured. | Getty
Susan Rice declines to testify before Senate subcommittee
Giuffre alleges that Maxwell ultimately trained her in how to give “massages” to Epstein that involved sex acts and, essentially, prostitution. When Maxwell publicly denied the allegations and called Giuffre a liar in 2015, that gave her the opening to head to federal court and file the defamation suit now headed for trial.

An attorney for Giuffre, Brad Edwards, indicated her lawyers plan to keep the focus on the central allegation in the case.

“We are trying to vindicate Virginia. What she said all along is she was recruited by Maxwell and abused by Epstein,” Edwards said. “That’s what this trial is going to be about and that’s what is going to be proven beyond any doubt. We’re looking forward to proving that.”

An attorney for Maxwell did not respond to requests for comment. In court papers, Maxwell has denied knowledge of or involvement in any illegality. A lawyer for Epstein did not return messages seeking comment; he’s repeatedly invoked his 5th Amendment rights in depositions in the Giuffre suit and other cases.

Epstein, 64, was a regular for several years at Mar-a-Lago. Testimony in a prior court case indicated that Trump flew at least once on one of the planes Epstein owned and Trump’s phone numbers were in Epstein’s personal phone directory.

Trump has also indicated publicly he knew of Epstein’s interest in “younger” women, although he never suggested the financier crossed any legal lines. “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,’’ Trump told New York Magazine back in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

On Monday, lawyers for Maxwell informed the judge that they wanted to ask potential jurors about their knowledge of rape and sexual harassment allegations leveled at Trump during the presidential contest.

Maxwell’s legal team wants to ask the jury pool if they know about suits filed—then dropped or dismissed—alleging that Trump and Epstein raped a teen at Epstein’s Manhattan residence.

Trump denied the charges. The suits were withdrawn amid media scrutiny, although one attorney for an unnamed accuser said she backed out due to threats.

N.Y. political class gives Trump the cold shoulder
When the pretrial hearing was scuttled, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet—a 94-year-old Carter appointee--overseeing Maxwell’s suit—appeared to be on the verge of making a decision on what both sides would be allowed to ask jurors about Trump, Clinton, Dershowitz and others.

Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten said Trump had no relationship with Epstein. “As I have previously explained, he had no relationship with Mr. Epstein and had no knowledge whatsoever of his conduct,” Garten said Tuesday. “This has all been reported countless times in the press.”
Maxwell’s lawyers appear likely to try to discredit Giuffre by painting her as a fabulist and serial liar—and have signaled they may drag other prominent figures into the proceedings.

Over the years, Giuffre has claimed that while traveling with Epstein she saw Clinton on Epstein’s private island and once ate with Vice President Al Gore and his then-wife Tipper. Maxwell’s attorneys have signaled plans to explore both claims at the trial.

A Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service records of visits Clinton may have made to Epstein’s Little St. James Island produced no such evidence. However, Epstein’s own lawyers once sought to capitalize on his ties to the former president, claiming during plea negotiations a decade ago that the financier “was part of the original group that conceived the Clinton Global Initiative”—a

In addition, Clinton and Hollywood guests including Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker toured AIDS projects in Africa in 2002 aboard a 727 jet Epstein owned.

A spokeswoman for Clinton did not respond to a request for comment.

Clinton’s ties to Epstein became an issue during the recent presidential race. Reince Priebus, then chairman of the Republican National Committee, was among Republicans who demanded a full accounting of the former president’s dealings with Epstein. “When you hang out with a guy who has a reputation like Jeffrey Epstein, multiple times, on private jets, on weekends, on trips, on places at least where it’s been reported not very good things happen, it would be good to know what our former president was doing, especially because it appears he’s going to be part of a campaign ticket on the other side of the aisle,” Priebus told Bloomberg in 2015.

Trump transition staffers head to K Street despite lobbying ban
Priebus is now Trump’s White House chief of staff. Trump has never offered a similar chronicle of his contacts with Epstein. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump’s ties to Epstein have triggered speculation that Cernovich might be gathering information on those who’ve leveled sex-related accusations at Trump or trying to collect information damaging to Trump for his own purposes. The blogger warned last month that he might release a “motherlode” of dirt on top White House officials if Trump adviser Steve Bannon was fired.

Cernovich insists his interest in the Epstein saga has nothing to do with the president. “The only Trump hook, in theory is that a lot of Trump supporters, including me, do believe there is some shady s--- going on as far as child trafficking,” the blogger said. He was among those who fanned conspiracy theories online about high-profile Democrats operating a child-sex ring out of a Washington pizzeria, which resulted in an armed North Carolina man who claimed he was trying to investigate the claims firing shots inside the restaurant.

Many of the court filings in the Giuffre case have been almost completely blacked out in public court files. First Amendment advocates say the degree of secrecy is both uncommon and disturbing. “This is pretty unusual to see this level of redaction,” said Katie Townsend of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

On Wednesday, Judge Sweet turned down Cernovich’s motion to unseal the court records. “Because of the sensitive nature of the materials designated as confidential, involving allegations of sexual abuse and trafficking of minors, and because we are mere weeks from assembling a jury for trial , the importance of leaving these materials protected…outweighs any public interest in their publication at this time,” the judge wrote.

Critics say the wholesale sealing goes far beyond what’s necessary to address that concern.

“When these things are eventually opened, I hope we see the nuclear launch codes in there because I’ve never seen anything like this,” Cernovich attorney Marc Randazza said. A lawyer for the New York Post and Daily News tabloids also sent a letter to the judge Thursday complaining about the secrecy.

Dershowitz, a former Epstein attorney, is among those who welcomed Cernovich’s efforts. POLITICO reported in 2014 that Giuffre had filed court papers accusing several prominent Epstein acquaintances of taking part in her sexual abuse, including Dershowitz and British royal Prince Andrew.
Dershowitz and the prince flatly denied the allegations. The Harvard professor and renowned attorney accused Epstein’s lawyers—including a former federal judge—of unethical conduct, prompting them to sue Dershowitz for defamation. The case was settled last year after Giuffre’s attorneys admitted it was a “mistake” to level the charge in a court filing, although they said their client stood by the allegation.

Dershowitz said Tuesday he wants evidence in the Maxwell suit made public because it supports his claims that Giuffre made up the story about him. “I would like [the] discovery unsealed. My deposition is already unsealed. I have nothing to hide. The other side is trying to hide the truth,” he said in response to a query from POLITICO.

The same 2014 court filing also accused Maxwell of a being “a co-conspirator in Epstein’s sexual abuse” and of taking “numerous sexually explicit pictures of underage girls involved in sexual activities, including” Giuffre.

That filing prompted Maxwell to issue a press statement dismissing Giuffre’s accusations as “obvious lies.”

While the accusations against Maxwell are key to the pending suit, it is framed as a defamation case, alleging that Maxwell’s denials were false and that they wrongfully damaged Giuffre’s reputation.

The looming trial has all the hallmarks of an epic courtroom battle. Giuffre is being represented by a legal team including Sigrid McCawley of Boies Schiller, the hard-charging law firm whose founder David Boies argued for Vice President Al Gore in the litigation over the 2000 presidential election.

“This case is part of a broader effort of our Firm to provide legal assistance to victims of sex trafficking and other abuse, and to try to fight future sex trafficking by drawing attention to the problem and making traffickers pay for their crimes,” Boies told POLITICO via email.

Maxwell also has an aggressive set of litigators seeking to protect both her reputation and what appear to be at least tens of millions of dollars in assets that could be in jeopardy if she loses the case. Her lead counsel, Laura Menninger, is an experienced trial attorney from Denver firm Haddon, Morgan and Foreman.

“We fundamentally disagree with plaintiff’s attempts to litigate this public-figure defamation action as a sex-abuse and sex-trafficking case, and we object to the Court’s rulings that have permitted plaintiff to litigate the case in that way,” Menninger wrote in a court filing last week. “We have raised numerous legal issues with the Court, and the Court has erred in denying those issues.”

The Giuffre suit isn’t the only one still pending in the aftermath of Epstein’s conviction. Another lawsuit accusing Acosta’s former office of illegally keeping victims in the dark about the plea deal is still proceeding in a Florida federal court.

Critics have suggested Acosta blessed called a “sweetheart” deal in which Epstein escaped prosecution on federal charges in exchange for his plea to the two state solicitation offenses.

Acosta’s handling of the Epstein case came up at his confirmation hearings in March, where Acosta defended the deal, saying it was a “broadly held” view in his office that ending the federal probe without charges was appropriate if Epstein pled guilty in state court and registered as a sex offender.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) listed the ex-prosecutor’s actions in the matter as the first of several reasons she voted against him. “His handling of a case involving sex trafficking of underage girls when he was a U.S. attorney suggests he won’t put the interests of workers and everyday people ahead of the powerful and well-connected,” Feinstein wrote. “Acosta cut Epstein a favorable deal without consulting or even informing the victims. As a longtime advocate for the rights of crime victims, I find this deeply disturbing.”