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Business News/ News / World/  Breaking down the Jeffrey Epstein case: 170 names revealed in newly released court docs | What comes next?
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Breaking down the Jeffrey Epstein case: 170 names revealed in newly released court docs | What comes next?

Court documents connected to accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein reveal scandalous details involving former US President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew, among others.

A New York judge began to unseal January 3, the identities of people linked in court documents to Jeffrey Epstein, the US financier who killed himself in 2019 as he awaited trial for sex crimes. (AFP)Premium
A New York judge began to unseal January 3, the identities of people linked in court documents to Jeffrey Epstein, the US financier who killed himself in 2019 as he awaited trial for sex crimes. (AFP)

The court documents, connected to accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Wednesday, revealed scandalous that involved the names of former US President Bill Clinton, and Britain's Prince Andrew among others. A federal court in New York made confidential documents related to Epstein public yesterday. 

The latest disclosure is part of a defamation proceeding between Ghislaine Maxwell (Epstein's former mistress), sentenced in 2022 to 20 years in prison, and a plaintiff against the duo, Virginia Giuffre. Maxwell and Epstein were a couple in the early 1990s before becoming professional collaborators and accomplices in sex crimes for almost three decades.

Who is Jeffrey Epstein? 

A millionaire who was well-known for his social circles with politicians, sports stars, billionaires, and academic elites, Epstein was first detained in 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida, on suspicion of paying a 14-year-old girl for sex.

In 2008, the financier was allowed to plead guilty to a charge involving a single victim in the prosecution, even though numerous other underage girls had reported similar incidents of sexual abuse. He participated in a jail work-release program for 13 months.

Following his conviction, several well-known acquaintances deserted Epstein, including former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, but many others did not. For ten more years, Epstein remained in the company of the wealthy and well-known, frequently through charitable endeavors.

Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's ex-girlfriend, was subsequently charged by the US attorney in Manhattan for aiding in the recruitment of his minor victims. She was found guilty in 2021 and is currently incarcerated for 20 years.

What are these records about? 

The unsealed documents are associated with a lawsuit initiated in 2015 against Ghislaine Maxwell by one of Jeffrey Epstein's victims, Virginia Giuffre. Giuffre is among numerous women who filed lawsuits against Epstein, alleging that they were subjected to abuse at his residences in Florida, New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and New Mexico.

Giuffre claimed that when she was 17 years old, she was enticed away from her job as a spa attendant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club to work as a “masseuse" for Epstein. This role involved engaging in sexual activities.

Approximately 2,000 pages were made public by a court in 2019, and further documents were disclosed in the subsequent years of 2020, 2021, and 2022. The upcoming set of approximately 250 records contains redacted sections or is entirely sealed.

How to access these records? 

The ‘Court Listener’ website, where Epstein documents are hosted, experiences a crash due to an overwhelming increase in traffic. However, Free Law Project in a post on X said, “We are getting utterly hammered by the Epstein docs and are working on a fix. 

In the meantime, the https://storage.courtlistener.com. links work fine. Reply here with the storage links folks will want and hopefully, we can recover the site. Thank you and apologies!"

What to expect now? 

As reported by AP, US District Judge Loretta A. Preska, who assessed the documents to determine their unsealing, stated in her December order that she decided to release the records because a significant portion of the information contained in them is already publicly available.

The individuals mentioned in the documents encompass Epstein's accusers, members of his staff who shared their accounts with tabloid newspapers, witnesses who testified during Maxwell's trial, and people referenced in depositions without facing allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Additionally, the list includes individuals involved in investigating Epstein, such as prosecutors, a journalist, and a detective.

Noteworthy public figures, already known for their associations with Epstein through prior documentation, are also present, as highlighted by the judge. Among them is Jean-Luc Brunel, a French modeling agent with close ties to Epstein, who faced charges of raping underage girls before he died in a Paris jail in 2022. Virginia Giuffre was among the women who had accused Brunel of sexual abuse.

When will the rest of the documents be made public? 

The judge hasn't set a target for when all of the documents should be made public, but more documents are expected to come in the next few days.

 

(With AP inputs)

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Published: 04 Jan 2024, 10:28 AM IST
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