Initial tranche of nearly 950 Epstein court documents released

Papers include names of dozens of powerful men who associated with financier and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Protesters outside a court in New York where Jeffrey Epstein was facing sex trafficking charges in 2019. They are holding up placards showing his face
Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges [File: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

The names of dozens of prominent men with alleged links to sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein have been publicly released after court files that formed part of a 2015 case brought by one of Epstein’s main accusers were unsealed.

The depositions and statements were part of a long-settled defamation case brought by Virginia Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who was once Epstein’s girlfriend.

Maxwell was jailed for 20 years in 2022 for sex crimes she committed with Epstein, who died by suicide in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

New York judge Loretta Preska ruled last month the documents could be unsealed, saying there was no legal justification for keeping them private.

The first tranche of documents – running to nearly 950 pages – began to be released on Wednesday night and largely consisted of already public material revealed through nearly two decades of newspaper stories, TV documentaries, interviews, legal cases and books about the Epstein scandal. More papers are expected to be unsealed or unredacted in the coming days.

Dozens of women have accused Epstein of forcing them to provide sexual services to him and his guests at his private Caribbean island and homes he owned in New York, Florida and New Mexico.

The records provided a reminder of how Epstein hobnobbed with famous and powerful figures including bankers, royalty and celebrities. The latest documents include references to men including former United States presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Britain’s Prince Andrew, billionaire Tom Pritzker, and lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

The appearance of the names in the court papers is not evidence of wrongdoing and does not indicate that the men face allegations.

Many have previously denied the claims made or having knowledge of the activities of Epstein who pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008.

Prince Andrew was stripped of most of his royal titles due to his association with Epstein and settled a civil lawsuit with Giuffre last year for an undisclosed sum.

Maxwell, the daughter of British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, is appealing her conviction.

Giuffre accused Maxwell of recruiting her when she was underage for Epstein to abuse.

Preska, who is overseeing the case, ruled that some names would remain confidential, including those of people who were children when Epstein abused them.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies