US District Judge Loretta A. Preska rejected what she described as an “eleventh hour” request after she ordered the documents to be released by Thursday last week. But she also delayed releasing depositions until Friday to give Gee time to appeal. He immediately did so with the 2nd Manhattan Circuit Court of Appeals.
Maxwell, 58, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she procured the girls, including one as young as 14, to be abused by Epstein in London and the United States in the 1990s. She remains in prison Brooklyn Federal Council after refusing her bail because she is at risk of fleeing.
The charges against Maxwell came nearly a year after Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan lockdown where he was awaiting trial for sex trafficking. If found guilty, she could face up to 35 years in prison.
Gee said Maxwell only revealed “intimate information about his personal life” in a case brought by one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, because a confidentiality agreement between the parties to the case “ruled out specifically an exception for the police ”.
“If the wording had not been returned by the Court, Ms Maxwell would have proceeded in a different manner,” Gee wrote.
He also told the judge that lawyers handling the case may have used the need for depositions to set a “perjury trap” for his client.
The lawyer said the release of the April and July 2016 depositions should be blocked as they form the basis of charges of criminal perjury in the indictment against Maxwell. But Preska said he could have made that point last month.
The perjury charges relate to Maxwell’s responses to questions asked by lawyers in the civil case, including whether Epstein had a plan to recruit underage girls for sex massages.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Maxwell replied, Gee noted.
Seven-hour extracts of Maxwell’s testimony were made public last year with more than 2,000 pages of court documents settled since.
“Unsealing the transcript of Ms. Maxwell’s deposition would result in substantial negative media publicity and speculation in an Internet world,” Gee wrote. “The public’s right of access to the transcript of Ms. Maxwell’s testimony is far outweighed by the compelling interest in ensuring her right to a fair trial. ”
Lawyers for Giuffre and the Miami Herald, who intervened to secure public disclosure of the documents, have received messages seeking comment.