There could be more charges coming related to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sexual abuse of dozens of girls and young women.
In a filing Friday, federal prosecutors indicated that the federal grand jury investigation into Epstein, his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell and their potential co-conspirators remains active.
Maxwell was charged in July in the Southern District of New York with four counts of sexual trafficking of a minor related to allegedly recruiting and grooming three girls between 1994 and 1997 for Epstein to abuse. She is accused of participating in the abuse of one of the girls.
Maxwell is seeking to use what her lawyers have described as “critical new information” that they obtained from the government in the criminal case to block the release of her 2016 deposition from a separate federal defamation suit that was brought by Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of Epstein and Maxwell, in 2015. The suit was settled in 2017, but the Miami Herald and others have fought to have materials from the case unsealed, arguing that they should have been public in the first place.
Federal prosecutors argued in the filing Friday that if Maxwell gains permission to release the information she’d like to put forth it would jeopardize their ongoing investigation.
It isn’t clear whether that investigation could potentially lead to more charges against Maxwell, charges against Epstein’s other alleged schedulers and handlers or prosecution of high-profile friends of the multimillionaire.
“As the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has stated publicly, the investigation into the conduct of the defendant in this case and other possible co-conspirators of Jeffrey Epstein remains active,” prosecutors wrote. “The full scope and details of that investigation, however, have not been made public.”
David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor, said it isn’t uncommon for a grand jury to continue to be active in complex cases even after charges have been brought against some of the targets.
“Just because you indict the two people at the top of the conspiracy doesn’t mean you stop looking at other people,” Weinstein said.
Epstein’s sexual abuse was the subject of the Miami Herald investigation Perversion of Justice, which examined the extraordinarily lenient sentence Epstein received in 2008 in Florida. The renewed scrutiny of Epstein led federal prosecutors in New York’s Southern District to bring new sex charges against him last July. He was found dead in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center one month later, the day after thousands of pages were unsealed in the Maxwell suit, detailing her alleged role in recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein and their famous friends.
Giuffre has said that Maxwell recruited her in 2000, around the time of her 17th birthday, when Giuffre was working as a spa assistant at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Giuffre has said that she was abused by Epstein and directed by Maxwell and Epstein to have sex with a number of their famous friends, including Prince Andrew, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and attorney Alan Dershowitz, among others. All the men have denied the claims and Dershowitz and Giuffre have each filed defamation suits against each other.
The prosecutors also revealed Friday how they had obtained Maxwell’s deposition in the civil suit, which they used in bringing two criminal charges of perjury against Maxwell.
Maxwell’s lawyers have suggested that Giuffre’s lawyers provided the deposition to federal prosecutors in violation of a protective order in the civil case, but the prosecutors wrote Friday that they had obtained Maxwell’s deposition after applying for permission from two courts to allow a recipient to turn the material over. One of the two courts granted permission, while the other did not. The prosecutors did not notify Maxwell that they were seeking the material.
“That is how grand jury subpoenas and investigations frequently work,” prosecutors wrote. “Defense counsel’s overheated rhetoric notwithstanding, there is simply nothing nefarious about the Government obtaining materials through grand jury subpoena process, let alone anything about the manner in which the Government obtained these materials that warrants the relief requested.”
Prosecutors took issue with Maxwell’s request to use the information she has obtained from the government in the criminal case to block the unsealing of material in the civil case.
“It would be grossly inappropriate for defense counsel to be permitted to sift through the criminal case discovery and cherry-pick materials they may believe could provide some advantage in their efforts to defend against accusations of abuse by victim plaintiffs, delay court-ordered disclosure of previously sealed materials, or any other legal effort the defendant may be undertaking at any particular time,” the prosecutors wrote.