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Thursday, October 8, 2020

October 08, 2020
Maxwell is seen in a court sketch from her July 14 arraignment in Manhattan Federal Court  - Reuters

The investigation into Jeffrey Epstein remains active, leading prosecutors said Tuesday, as they argued to keep 40 pages of photos and 40 pages of documents about his victims a secret from Ghislaine Maxwell.

Manhattan prosecutors say they want to delay giving materials from dozens of victims cooperating with the government and who will not testify at trial to lawyers for the British socialite.

They told a judge in a letter that they want to try to prevent lawyers for Epstein's incarcerated ex-girlfriend from learning too much about the files until two months before her criminal trial next summer.

The active probe leaves open the possibility of additional arrests. The files are said to include school pictures and bank and travel records.

Maxwell, 58, has been held without bail since her July arrest on charges that she recruited teenage girls for Epstein to abuse in the mid-1990s and sometimes joined the abuse. She has pleaded not guilty.

She has hired a New York-based lawyer who previously represented one of Osama bin Laden's henchmen, as she seeks to bolster her team ahead of her trial. Bobbi Sternheim is described on the website of her law firm, Fasulo Braverman & Di Maggio, as a 'recognized leader' in 'litigating difficult and complex cases'.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in August 2019 while he was housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal lockup adjacent to Manhattan federal courthouses.

At the time, he faced federal sex trafficking charges and was held without bail a month after his arrest.

Prosecutors want to delay turning materials from some victims over to the defense until eight weeks before her trial scheduled for July.

A message seeking comment was left with lawyers for Maxwell. Prosecutors said defense lawyers have indicated they will oppose the secrecy request.

In its letter, prosecutors said revealing 40 pages of photographs and 40 pages of documents related to Epstein victims who were harmed after the time spanned by the charges against Maxwell could jeopardize the government's ongoing investigation and scare other victims from cooperating.

Prosecutors said charges against Maxwell pertain to illegal sex acts that occurred between 1994 and 1997, but the indictment emerged from a wider probe that went beyond that period.

As part of the broader probe, investigators have interviewed dozens of victims who were sexually abused by Epstein after 1997 and obtained a limited number of sensitive documents and photographs, including school pictures and bank and travel records, they said.

Prosecutors said they don't plan to offer the materials as evidence at trial and wanted to turn them over to the defense at the same time as materials related to other non-testifying witnesses.

To do otherwise, prosecutors said, would risk interfering with the ongoing investigation.

For now, prosecutors said they wanted to keep the scope of their probe secret, in part to encourage other victims to cooperate.

Maxwell is appealing U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska's order to release other materials, including her April 2016 deposition and a deposition by a second Epstein accuser.

She has said her deposition contained 'intimate, sensitive, and personal information,' and whose release would cause irreversible, negative publicity.

The socialite said this would undermine her constitutional rights to remain silent and obtain a fair trial by an impartial jury, outweighing any presumption of public access.

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