Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite fighting sex-trafficking charges in the U.S., persuaded a federal appeals court in Manhattan to temporarily halt the release of sworn testimony she gave in April 2016 in a civil case.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Friday granted Maxwell’s request to block the unsealing of documents that include her deposition testimony in that lawsuit. The court said it would consider the fight over the unsealing on an expedited basis and scheduled a hearing for Sept. 22.
While Maxwell has fought to keep her statements from being made public, other documents were unsealed Thursday in a suit against her by Virginia Giuffre, who alleged Maxwell and her former boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein, recruited her into a sex-trafficking ring when she was 16. The material released included Giuffre’s testimony in the suit as well as 2015 emails which Maxwell exchanged with Epstein.
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Maxwell, 58, who’s in a federal jail in Brooklyn after her arrest this month, was charged with engaging with Epstein in a scheme to traffic girls as young as 14 to the financier, who sexually assaulted them. She’s also accused of participating in some of the abuse.
Prosecutors also charged Maxwell with perjury, saying she lied under oath during her testimony in the suit when she denied knowing Epstein sexually assaulted underage girls or being present during them. The socialite has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Maxwell argued that disclosing the sealed evidence would hurt her chances of getting a fair trial and taint the jury that will hear her case next year. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ordered Maxwell’s testimony to be unsealed by Aug. 3 but agreed to put her decision on hold to allow Maxwell to take her challenge to the federal appeals court.
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