US judge begins to unseal Epstein contacts

A New York judge commenced the unsealing process on Wednesday, revealing the identities of individuals connected to Jeffrey Epstein, the US financier who died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex crimes.

The initial batch includes 40 previously undisclosed documents, comprising nearly 1,000 pages of depositions and statements. The final collection of documents is anticipated to name notable individuals.

Those identified will include Epstein associates, formerly referred to as John or Jane Does, in a lawsuit against Epstein’s ex-mistress, Ghislaine Maxwell. The lawsuit does not allege complicity in Epstein’s crimes.

Prominent figures and individuals who have discussed their associations with Epstein in media interviews linked to the court order are expected to be named.

This disclosure is part of a defamation proceeding involving Epstein’s former mistress, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2022, and Virginia Giuffre, a plaintiff against the duo.

Last month, a judge listed 180 cases under pseudonyms, ordering their identities to be made public within 14 days. Some individuals have objected, citing potential victimization in their home countries.

Giuffre’s defamation claim against Maxwell dates back to 2016 and was settled the following year. The Miami Herald later took legal action to access the file and investigate the Epstein network.

Several documents in the case were made public in 2019, just days before Epstein’s suicide in prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Maxwell and Epstein were a couple in the early 1990s before becoming collaborators and accomplices in sex crimes for nearly three decades.

Epstein, a financier with influential connections in the US and abroad, faced accusations of raping young girls. His suicide in a New York prison in August 2019 halted his prosecution.

Fabricated lists and manipulated photos of Epstein have circulated in conspiratorial circles for years, fueling speculation about potential associates. The impending release of names from court documents has reignited such speculation.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel threatened legal action against Aaron Rodgers, an American football star who suggested Kimmel could be on the list, although this was a baseless allegation. Similar unfounded claims were made on various platforms, including implicating actor Tom Hanks.

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