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The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, who has accused the estate of Jeffrey Epstein of being an ongoing criminal enterprise, asked a federal judge Tuesday to grant her intervention in order to review sealed court testimony given by alleged Epstein madam Ghislaine Maxwell.
In a filing to U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, Attorney General Denise George sought access to a transcript now at the heart of two other important cases. The Maxwell transcript is from a lawsuit settled in 2017 between Maxwell and Epstein’s chief accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Attorneys for Maxwell, arrested in New Hampshire on July 2, are trying to block the unsealing of the key document in the civil lawsuit on grounds it will bias a future jury in her criminal case.
The transcript was set to be unsealed as part of a lawsuit brought by the Miami Herald, which argued that many documents from the long-settled civil lawsuit are of public interest because of the sexual crimes alleged to have been committed by Epstein, who died by hanging in a New York jail in August 2019.
Preska agreed there was an overwhelming public interest but last month allowed Maxwell attorneys to appeal the unsealing of her interview transcript. That appeal is slated to be heard in late September.
But the attorney general wants a look at the transcript now, especially if the appeals court keeps it secret, because Epstein lived on Little St. James Cay, allegedly obtained tax breaks in the Virgin Islands through fraud and committed sex crimes there. He did so, George maintains, through the help of lawyers and accountants who are settling his estate there but are part of what she alleges is a crime group.
“The USVI seeks confidential access to these sealed documents and unfiled discovery materials because they are very likely relevant to its pending Virgin Islands Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“CICO”) enforcement action against the Estate of Jeffrey E. Epstein and several Epstein-controlled entities before the Superior Court of the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said the filing to Preska from William Narwold, an attorney from Hartford, Connecticut., hired by the attorney general to seek intervention.
In the 14-page filing, George alleges that Epstein “used his vast wealth and property holdings and a deliberately opaque web of corporations and companies to transport young woman and girls to his privately owned island, where they were held captive and subject to severe and extensive sexual abuse.”
The filing further alleges the women and girls were lured to the island with promises of modeling and career opportunities but instead were held captive and sexually abused and exploited. George cited the example of a 15-year-old girl whose passport was seized by Epstein to prevent her leaving the Virgin Islands.
George asked Judge Preska for limited access to all sealed documents filed in support of Maxwell’s motion for summary judgment in the now-settled lawsuit; all sealed documents filed in support of Giuffre’s opposition to Maxwell’s motion; and all sealed parts of the court’s opinion on the motion.
In addition to George’s racketeering-like suit against the Epstein estate, a probate court in the Virgin Islands is presiding over the unwinding of his vast global holdings. An Epstein victims’ compensation fund, authorized by the probate court, recently began operating, offering victims a private way to seek compensation without bruising court battles.
Story by Kevin G. Hall, Miami Herald.