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 anticipating action-packed racing at COVID Cup

The event at Central Alberta Raceways will see three days of racing on the dirt oval, Aug. 21-23

76 new cases of COVID-19 reported Thursday

Active cases at 1,036, 10,713 recovered cases

Alberta RCMP launch online crime reporting

Select property crimes can now be reported online through the province-wide initiative

COVID-19 tests urged for all teachers and school staff

121 new cases Wednesday, active cases up to 1,040

Two-night fundraiser supports Sylvan Lake family after parent death

Billy Cooney, owner of Cooney Creek Plumbing and Heating, died July 25 after a dirt bike accident

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

A vigil was held Monday night to mourn the victim

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

AB Infrastructure Minister announces $8,522,800 regional water transmission line

Funding is covered jointly by the province, Ottawa and benefiting municipalities

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools receive grant from Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

WRPS has received $15,975 from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

Three people drown at Crescent Falls

Rocky Mountain House RCMP say the incident occurred Tuesday

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

Most Read