The first batch of previously sealed court documents naming people tied to a settled lawsuit involving the late financier and accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein were released Wednesday, court records show.
The forty exhibits released Wednesday evening by a federal court in New York City, contain important names but few new information.
The vast majority of those whose names appear in the documents aren’t accused of wrongdoing. Some names in the documents may already be public in the case, and are expected to include known associates of Epstein and alleged sexual abuse victims.
The documents, expected to be released on a rolling basis, are part of a defamation lawsuit first filed in 2015 against Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell by Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
In her deposition, Maxwell disputes most of the accusations made by Giuffre and denies any knowledge of illegal behavior from Epstein.
However, Giuffre alleged in her deposition that she was directed at different times to have sex with Prince Andrew, another prince, the owner of a large hotel chain and Glenn Dubin, a billionaire hedge fund manager.
A request from NBC News for a response from Prince Andrew was not immediately returned Wednesday night, but Andrew has long denied her allegations.
A spokesperson for Dubin told NBC News Wednesday that he “strongly den[ies] these allegations” and described them as unsubstantiated statements.
In another 2016 deposition unsealed Wednesday, another Epstein accuser, Johanna Sjoberg, said Epstein spoke about Clinton.
“He said one time that Clinton likes them young, referring to girls,” Sjoberg said in her deposition reads. Clinton has not been accused of wrongdoing. Sjoberg added she had never met Clinton and never saw him on Epstein’s island.
In a statement to NBC News in 2019, a spokesman for Clinton said that the former president had not spoken to Epstein in over a decade and was unaware of any criminal activity at that time.
Clinton flew on Epstein’s planes numerous times, flight records made public in 2019 show.
Former President Donald Trump also appears in Sjoberg’s deposition, but it contains no allegations of wrongdoing.
On one occasion, Sjoberg testified she was on a plane with Epstein, Maxwell and Giuffre that landed in Atlantic City after the plane could not land in New York.
“Jeffrey said, Great, we’ll call up Trump” and go to a casino, Sjoberg said in her deposition. She also said she never gave Trump a massage.
Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday but has previously said he had not talked to Epstein for 15 years before his death.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska last month ordered the materials to be released after Jan. 1, although the names of minor victims who have not testified in the case or were not previously known to the public will remain sealed.
Epstein was facing multiple sex trafficking charges when he hanged himself in a federal jail in New York in August 2019.
Who Is Jeffrey Epstein?
A millionaire known for associating with celebrities, politicians, billionaires and academic stars, Epstein was initially arrested in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2005 after he was accused of paying a 14-year-old girl for sex.
Dozens of other underage girls described similar sexual abuse, but prosecutors ultimately allowed the financier to plead guilty in 2008 to a charge involving a single victim. He served 13 months in a jail work-release program.
Some famous acquaintances abandoned Epstein after his conviction, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, but many did not. Epstein continued to mingle with the rich and famous for another decade, often through philanthropic work.
Reporting by the Miami Herald renewed interest in the scandal, and federal prosecutors in New York charged Epstein in 2019 with sex trafficking. He killed himself in jail while awaiting trial.
The U.S. attorney in Manhattan then prosecuted Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, for helping recruit his underage victims. She was convicted in 2021 and is serving a 20-year prison term. Now 62, Maxwell is in a federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida, and has filed an appeal of the verdict, claiming prosecutors used her as a scapegoat.
Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years for helping wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls
What Was Jeffrey Epstein Convicted Of?
Epstein was arrested in Florida in 2005, accused of paying a teenage girl for sex. Despite that dozens of other underage girls described similar sexual abuse around that time, prosecutors ultimately allowed him to plead guilty to a charge involving a single victim. He served 13 months in a jail work-release program.
In 2019, with renewed attention on Epstein and his past, federal prosecutors charged him with sex trafficking — he then killed himself in jail while awaiting trial.
What Was Jeffrey Epstein’s Cause of Death?
Epstein hanged himself in his cell as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges at the now-shuttered Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.
Documents obtained by the Associated Press in 2023, including emails between jail officials and psychological evaluations, shed light on the moments leading up to his death. According to the thousands of pages of records obtained, Epstein was anxious and despondent during much of his time in jail, prompting concern from jail guards and psychological experts about his mental state. He complained often about jail life, including poor sleep, constipation, the color of his uniform and his treatment by other detainees. The noise from a broken toilet in his cell left him sitting in the corner with his hands over his ears, according to one psychologist.
These records showed he was moved from the jail’s general population to specialized housing. He also was briefly placed on suicide watch before being downgraded to psychiatric observation — which was his status when he killed himself.
Epstein was found dead on the morning of Aug. 10, 2019. He had hanged himself with a bedsheet, according to the medical examiner.
What Are These New Epstein Documents?
The documents being unsealed are part of a lawsuit filed against Maxwell in 2015 by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre. She is one of the dozens of women who sued Epstein saying he had abused them at his homes in Florida, New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands and New Mexico.
Giuffre said the summer she turned 17, she was lured away from a job as a spa attendant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club to become a “masseuse” for Epstein — a job that involved performing sexual acts.
Giuffre alleged that Epstein sexually abused her and that Maxwell and Epstein directed her to have sex with other men from 2000 to 2002, starting when she was 17. The lawsuit against Maxwell, which Giuffre brought after Maxwell accused her of lying when she said Maxwell and Epstein had exploited and abused her, was eventually settled out of court in 2017.
Giuffre claimed she was pressured into having sex with men in Epstein’s social orbit, most famously with Prince Andrew. All of those men have said her accounts were fabricated. She settled a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in 2022. That same year, Giuffre withdrew an accusation she had made against Epstein’s former attorney Alan Dershowitz, saying she “may have made a mistake” in identifying him as an abuser.
Giuffre’s lawsuit against Maxwell was settled in 2017, but the Miami Herald went to court to access court papers initially filed under seal, including transcripts of interviews the lawyers did with potential witnesses.
About 2,000 pages were unsealed by a court in 2019. Additional documents were released in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
This next batch of records had remained sealed because of concerns about the privacy rights of Epstein’s victims and other people whose names had come up during the legal battle but weren’t complicit in his crimes.
A federal judge has ordered the public disclosure of the identities of more than 150 people mentioned in several court documents related to the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.