British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of grooming underage girls for pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, has requested a gag order against prosecutors to keep evidence including naked photos and ‘sexualised’ videos private.
Maxwell, 58, was arrested earlier in July and is scheduled to be tried for sex-trafficking offenses in a Manhattan federal court in July next year. She has pleaded not guilty to charges that she’d groomed and aided the abuse by Epstein of at least three girls throughout the 1990s.
Court documents show that Maxwell’s lawyers want to keep the evidence, which they describe as “highly confidential information” and including “nude, partially-nude, or otherwise sexualised images, videos or depictions of individuals” private, to prevent it appearing online and potentially impacting a series of civil lawsuits leveled against her by survivors of Epstein’s abuse.
“There is a substantial concern that these individuals will seek to use discovery materials to support their civil cases and future public statements,” Maxwell’s attorney Christian Everdell, the prosecutor who brought Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to justice, explained.
The proposed order, submitted Monday, is somewhat routine in sex-abuse cases but prosecutors have refused the request that witnesses and lawyers in the trial would be subject to any gag orders, and are expected to reply officially later on Tuesday.
“The defense believes that potential government witnesses and their counsel should be subject to the same restrictions as the defense concerning appropriate use of the discovery materials – namely, if these individuals are given access to discovery materials during trial preparation, they may not use those materials for any purpose other than preparing for trial in the criminal case, and may not post those materials on the Internet,” the affidavit said.
Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell last August while awaiting trial for abusing women and girls, some as young as 14, in Manhattan and Florida in the early 2000s.
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