On Monday, the Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that the 418-page deposition in which Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and alleged madam of Jeffrey Epstein, was interrogated about her sex life, should be released to the public.
A defamation case brought against Maxwell by Virginia Roberts Giuffre produced thousands of files; the deposition is part of that cache. Although Maxwell settled the defamation case in 2017, media organizations pushed for the documents to be revealed. Giuffre has alleged Epstein made her his “sex slave” and that Maxwell helped him in his actions. Giuffre’s attorneys have stated that Maxwell chose to forgo her right to remain silent when she was deposed in 2016.
The deposition could be released within days.
Maxwell and her attorneys argued that the District Court abused its discretion in ordering the unsealing of the deposition materials, asserting that there was a lower presumption of access to the deposition materials at issue in this case than to the summary judgment materials the Court of Appeal ordered unsealed in Brown v. Maxwell, and that her interests outweighed the public’s interests, the Court of Appeal noted, adding, “A district court abuses its discretion if it ‘(1) bases its decision on an error of law or uses the wrong legal standard; (2) bases its decision on a clearly erroneous factual finding; or (3) reaches a conclusion that, though not necessarily the product of a legal error or a clearly erroneous factual finding, cannot be located within the range of permissible decisions.’”
But the three judges of the Court of Appeal disagreed, writing:
We cannot conclude that the district court abused its discretion in ordering the unsealing of the deposition materials. While “the presumption of public access in filings submitted in connection with discovery disputes or motions in limine is generally somewhat lower than the presumption applied to material introduced at trial, or in connection with dispositive motions such as motions for dismissal or summary judgment,” the District Court correctly held that the deposition materials are judicial documents to which the presumption of public access attaches and did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Maxwell’s meritless arguments that her interests superseded the presumption of access.
The judges concluded, “We have reviewed all of the arguments raised by Defendant-Appellant Maxwell on appeal and find them to be without merit. We deny the motion to consolidate this appeal with the pending appeal in United States v. Maxwell.”
Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies stated, “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,” according to the Daily Mail.
Former Democrat President Bill Clinton reportedly had an “intimate dinner” with Maxwell in 2014. The Daily Beast reported:
But two other unlikely guests joined the party that night: British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell—accused of procuring underage girls for sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein—and tech CEO Scott Borgerson, now rumored to be her husband.
According to information obtained by The Daily Beast, Clinton’s advance team secured seating for the invitees and specifically noted Maxwell and someone named “Scott” had RSVP’d for the Thursday gathering.
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