Prosecutors: ‘Alarming’ that Maxwell may publicize victims

Prosecutors: ‘Alarming’ that Maxwell may publicize victims

NEW YORK — Some witnesses in the criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend may face harassment and intimidation and could be reluctant to co-operate with the government if defence attorneys are allowed to discuss them publicly, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Prosecutors asked a Manhattan federal court judge to block lawyers for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell from publicly identifying women who have already spoken about the financier or Maxwell on a public forum.

“The victims of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein have suffered enough,” prosecutors said, urging privacy for accusers except for anyone who acknowledges publicly they are part of the criminal case against Maxwell.

Defence lawyers said Monday that banning them from publicly identifying alleged victims or potential witnesses in the case will hinder their ability to investigate, prepare witnesses for trial and advocate on Maxwell’s behalf.

“Permitting defence counsel to publicly identify witnesses who have not identified themselves on the record in this case risks subjecting witnesses to harassment and intimidation, with no conceivable benefit to the defence other than perhaps discouraging witnesses from co-operating with the Government,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.

They said defence lawyers said they believed they could reference victims by name publicly prior to trial because the individuals had gotten a “benefit” by publicly identifying themselves.

“Beyond the offensive notion that victims of sexual abuse experience a ‘benefit’ by making the incredibly difficult decision to share their experience publicly, the suggestion that victims who receive this supposed ‘benefit’ should receive fewer protections than the law ordinarily offers to victims in criminal cases is alarming,” prosecutors wrote.

The dispute arose as lawyers on both sides tried to agree on the rules of secrecy about evidence prior to a July 12 trial, when Maxwell will face charges that she recruited three teenage girls for Epstein to abuse in London and the United States in the 1990s.

Maxwell, 58, incarcerated since her July 2 arrest at her New Hampshire estate, has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging she sometimes joined in the abuse of the girls, which included one who was 14.

Epstein, 66, was facing sex trafficking charges in Manhattan when he killed himself last August while awaiting trial.

“The defence believes it should not be restricted from publicly disclosing or disseminating the identity of any alleged victims or potential witnesses referenced in the discovery materials who have already identified themselves by speaking on the public record,” defence lawyers wrote in their submission.

Prosecutors, though, said “victims should be able to continue to come forward, in the ways and in the venues they themselves choose, without fear of reprisal, shaming, or other consequence arising from having their identities broadcast by defence counsel in this case.”

Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press

Epstein molesting girls

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New hospice suite officially opened at Points West Stettler on Aug. 7th

“As soon as you walk into it, it’s comfortable which makes it easier for a guest to settle into right away.”

Much to explore at the Big Valley Historical Society Museum

Plenty of history packed into a diverse and extensive collection

Update: Possible drowning at Pigeon Lake involved man and woman from Edmonton

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

134 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

First day over 100 cases since July 31

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

13-year-old charged in death of boy, 10 in Maskwacis

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Most Read