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

Rimbey FCSS prepares back-to-school Kits for Kids program

Program helps families access needed school supplies

Rimbey RCMP respond to 36 calls for service

Files include: 1 theft of truck and 3 other theft related occurrences

Alberta reports 257 new cases of COVID-19

Central zone has 157 active cases

Charges likely in fatal attack at central Alberta medical clinic: RCMP

A vigil was held Monday night to mourn the victim

Donations pour in for family of doctor killed in Red Deer attack

Man has been charged in connection to death of Red Deer doctor

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Vigil held in Maskwacis for 10-year-old boy

Samson Cree Nation comes together for comfort, console each other

Cuts to environmental monitoring budget In Alberta’s oilsands are viewed as reckless

The 2019-2020 budget saw $58 million dollars being dedicated to environmental monitoring

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Most Read