Federal prosecutors in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking case have sought to block her from publicly naming Jeffrey Epstein victims in court documents — and agreed to hide sexually explicit images and videos from becoming public.
Prosecutors made their arguments on Tuesday in response to proposed guidelines for discovery in the case filed by Maxwell’s attorneys Monday. In their proposed protective order, defense attorneys argued they should be allowed to disclose the identities of victims who have already spoken on the record or to the media.
“The Government has repeatedly asked defense counsel to explain how or why it would need to publicly name victims of sexual abuse to prepare for trial, and the defense repeatedly has declined to do so, presumably because the argument borders on the absurd,” Assistant US Attorney Alex Rossmiller wrote in his response.
Rossmiller added that Maxwell’s attorneys had claimed Epstein victims who have come forward have gotten a “benefit” from doing so, and should thus be identified in the case.
“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,” Rossmiller wrote.
“Permitting defense 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 defense other than perhaps discouraging witnesses from cooperating with the Government,” he added.
The prosecutors agreed, howeer, with Maxwell’s attorneys that evidence marked “highly confidential” in the case should remain under seal and not be made publicly available.
“Highly Confidential Information contains nude, partially-nude, or otherwise sexualized images, videos, or other depictions of individuals,” the proposed guidelines for both prosecutors and Maxwell’s attorneys stated.
Maxwell was arrested earlier this month on a on a six-count indictment for allegedly procuring girls for Epstein to abuse and then lying about it under oath.
She’d been hiding out in a sprawling New Hampshire mansion for a year after Epstein killed himself in a Lower Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Her attorneys will have until tomorrow to reply to the prosecutors’ proposed guidelines before Judge Alison Nathan rules on what protective order will be adopted.
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