The documents hail from a civil lawsuit in which Virginia Giuffre accused Epstein's romantic partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, of facilitating sexual abuse against her starting when she was 16. The lawsuit was settled two years later, in 2017, and the court soon after granted the Miami Herald's motion to unseal the case's documents.
In the years since, Judge Loretta A. Preska has been reviewing the files to determine which portions could be made public.
Although some records have already been released over the years, many names Preska initially withheld due to potential privacy restrictions are now fair to be unsealed — save for the sensitive cases of those who were minors at the time of the alleged abuse, which will remain private.
The judge noted many individuals in the court documents — which could include Epstein's victims, co-conspirators, employees and even just names mentioned in emails — have already been revealed in some way, such as the multiple "J Does" who have given media interviews or those who publicly testified at Maxwell's trial. Still, it might not be clear how exactly some people listed are associated with Epstein or Maxwell.
Those who have and wish to continue to keep their identities private have just under two weeks as of Tuesday to appeal, as Jan. 1 is the date the order takes effect.
Maxwell's lawyers initially pushed hard to keep the evidence and depositions from Giuffre's case under seal, while others, including Giuffre's team and some people mentioned in the material, pushed for them to be made public.
One name that made headlines in Giuffre's suit was Prince Andrew, whom the woman alleged Epstein and Maxwell directed her to have sex with along with other prominent associates. Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied the allegations and settled a sexual assault lawsuit from Giuffre last year.
Multiple other cases against Epstein and Maxwell state the couple worked together to recruit and sexually abuse young girls, who were allegedly brought to Epstein's multiple properties to service prominent figures who also flew there — a point that has caused public stir after flight logs naming other figures, like former presidents and entertainers, were released.
The Justice Department brought an indictment against Epstein for his alleged role in the sex trafficking operation in 2019. He took his own life while in jail less than two months later.
As for Maxwell, she is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for her role in finding and abusing girls for Epstein and his associates.
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