A mystery man is attempting to get a judge to not name names in a case linked to convicted sex offender and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, arguing doing so would impact the reputations of those named.
According to a letter sent to U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, lawyers for John Doe said that unsealing records related to Epstein would infringe upon the privacy and reputational rights of persons who haven’t been charged with a crime.
The letter references efforts by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has said she was Epstein’s sex slave and has pictures showing her with Epstein’s close friend Ghislaine Maxwell during a yacht party in addition to photographs placing her at Epstein’s Zorro Ranch, to have more records unsealed after nearly 2,000 pages of documents were unsealed on Aug. 9, a day before Epstein committed suicide in a New York prison.
“Doe is not, and has never been, a party in any judicial proceeding involving Ghislaine Maxwell or Virginia Giuffre, or in any proceeding relating to Giuffre’s allegation that Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her. As a non-party to these proceedings, Doe lacks specific knowledge about the contents of the Sealed Materials. But it is clear that these materials implicate the privacy and reputational interests of many persons other than the two primary parties to this action, Giuffre and Maxwell,” the lawyers for Doe wrote in the letter (pdf).
The lawyers are Nicholas Lewin and Paul Kreiger of Krieger, Kim & Lewin.
The documents are linked to a defamation lawsuit filed by Giuffre against Maxwell. It was filed in 2015 and settled out of court in 2017. Giuffre has argued that Maxwell didn’t provide “compelling reasons” to keep the documents unsealed.
Noting the vast number of articles published about Epstein, the lawyers for John Doe argued that “unsealing references to non-parties would throw those non-parties into the middle of this frenzy, and unfairly do irreparable harm to their privacy and reputational interests.”
Some of the sealed materials, including discovery materials, written responses, and deposition transcripts, should be permanently sealed, the lawyers said.
If the court does unseal additional records, then names of people not named in lawsuits should be redacted along with other identifying information, the attorneys said.
“Here, the public interest is not adversely impacted by redacting personal identifying information from the materials unrelated to the summary judgment motion. The public is still afforded access to the specific allegations contained in the Sealed Materials: the alleged acts of misconduct. This information is sufficient for the public to evaluate and review the district court’s faithful discharge of its judicial function in this case consistent with the facts, law, and basic precepts of fairness,” they wrote.
And a “page-by-page review” should be conducted, making sure each page is required to be released, and if not, some pages shouldn’t be unsealed, the legal team alleged.
Two other parties have in the past filed legal briefs to try to limit the release of information that would connect them to Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking operation.
Court documents obtained by the Miami Herald in March showed that a Jane Doe and John Doe didn’t want to be named in released documents, and asked a judge not to release information that would identify them as linked to Epstein.
John Doe said that he hasn’t been publicly identified or accused by Giuffre as being one of the men with whom the alleged sex slave had sex.
Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies, meanwhile, told the New York Post that a hearing on Sept. 4 regarding his client would involve figuring out how to deal with the documents that haven’t been unsealed.
“It’s a whole new set of documents, five to 10 times larger in volume than what has been released so far,” he said.
The large number of files includes depositions from witnesses that have not been heard from before, Boies said. He said he didn’t want to say who they were as of yet.