Epstein court documents unsealed
Court filings from a lawsuit related to Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking conspiracy case were unsealed on Wednesday.
The big picture: The documents feature roughly 150 people mentioned in previously redacted parts of the suit against Ghislaine Maxwell, who was sentenced last year to 20 years in prison on sex trafficking and other charges for helping Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.
- Being named in the suit does not equate to being accused of wrongdoing.
- More Epstein-related documents are expected to be released as soon as Thursday.
Driving the news: Virginia Giuffre, who accused Maxwell of facilitating her sexual abuse, settled the suit in 2017, but the terms were not immediately made public.
- Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York last month set a Jan. 1 release date for the court documents to be unsealed in the civil case.
State of play: The names of several prominent figures appear in the unsealed documents.
- Former President Clinton is mentioned more than 50 times in the filings, though the records do not indicate any evidence of illegality on Clinton's part, and his representatives said they did not object to the unsealing.
- In one instance, one of Epstein's accusers says the financier had remarked that Clinton "likes them young," referring to girls.
- A spokesperson for Clinton pointed Axios to a 2019 statement which said the former president had no knowledge of Epstein's "terrible crimes," had not spoken to him for more than a decade, and had not visited "Little St. James Island, Epstein's ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida."
- Former President Trump is mentioned in the documents, but no reference is made to any illicit behavior on his part. One witness recalled Epstein saying "we'll call up Trump" during a stop in Atlantic City.
- Prince Andrew appears in the newly released court documents, including in testimony from a witness who alleged that the British prince "put his hand on my breast."
- Queen Elizabeth II's second son has repeatedly rejected allegations of wrongdoing in regards to Epstein and previously denied Giuffre's accusations that Epstein arranged for him to sexually abuse and rape her when she was 17 years old. The prince settled her lawsuit against him in 2022, but did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement.
- Michael Jackson and magician David Copperfield are among the celebrities whom witnesses said they met at Epstein's homes. Neither were accused of any wrongdoing. A publicist for Copperfield did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
- Stephen Hawking is mentioned in an email in which Epstein told Maxwell she could offer a reward to friends of Giuffre if they could disprove certain claims, including that the late physicist had taken part in an "underage orgy." There are no further references to Hawking in the documents and no evidence that he did in fact take part in any illegal behavior.
- Alan Dershowitz, who helped disgraced financier Epstein get a sweetheart plea deal, features prominently in the filings, which predate a lawsuit in which Giuffre alleged she was trafficked to him. She withdrew it in 2022, saying she "may have made a mistake in identifying him." Dershowitz welcomed the release of the filings Wednesday.
- Jean Luc Brunel, the former modeling agent and longtime Epstein associate who was found dead in a jail cell in France in 2022 while facing charges — which he denied — over his alleged participation in the sex trafficking of minors, appears in several of the documents.
Context: Last month, Preska ordered most of the material within 187 entries listed under the pseudonym "J. Doe" be released after Jan. 1. in regard to the suit.
Between the lines: The court issued an order earlier on Wednesday extending the anonymity of two of the Does.
- Doe 107 has until Jan. 22 to submit support that revealing her name would bring her physical harm.
- Doe 110's inquiry is under review by the court.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout and to correct a quote from Virginia Giuffre regarding why she withdrew a lawsuit against attorney Alan Dershowitz.