Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex relationships with adults can be secret: judge

New York: Testimony by the ex-girlfriend of the late wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein about her sexual experiences with consenting adults can remain secret when a transcript is released next week, a judge said on Wednesday (AEDT).

The ruling by US District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan pertained to a July 2016 deposition of Ghislaine Maxwell in a civil lawsuit brought by one of Maxwell's accusers that has since been settled.

“Although the prurient interest of some may be left un-satiated as a result, Ms Maxwell’s interest in keeping private the details of her sexual relationships with consenting adults warrants the sealing of those portions of her testimony,” Preska said at a hearing conducted electronically because of the coronavirus.

Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, at a news conference to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell in July.Credit:AP

Lawyers for the 59-year-old British socialite had objected to the transcript being made public on the grounds that it could damage her chance at a fair trial on charges that she recruited three underage girls in the 1990s for Epstein.

Preska said Maxwell's lawyers had failed to show how the unsealing of the deposition transcript would jeopardise a trial that wasn't slated to begin until July or why publicity about the document could not be overcome through a fair jury selection process. She ordered the unsealing and release of dozens of documents, except for the salacious details.

The judge also ordered the release in eight days of dozens of other documents sought by the Miami Herald, which has led the investigation into Epstein's crimes.

A message seeking comment was left with a lawyer for Maxwell.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender, killed himself in a Manhattan jail in 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.

Maxwell, who is held without bail at a Brooklyn federal prison, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she recruited girls for Epstein and sometimes joined in the abuse of them.

The hearing was briefly interrupted when the judge was told that audio of the proceeding was being aired online.

“Whoever is doing it, you are operating against the law. I suspect there is a way to find out. So I will ask you, most respectfully, to stop doing it. We have had enough of lack of the rule of law around here. Let’s try to observe it,” Preska said.

The audio was online on a page that included comments by individuals who seemed to embrace QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory.


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