Federal prosecutors hinted in a recent court filing that possible criminal charges in the late Jeffrey Epstein’s case may be coming as a grand jury investigation is still active.
“As the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has stated publicly, the investigation into the conduct of the defendant in this case and other possible co-conspirators of Jeffrey Epstein remains active,” prosecutors wrote in a letter to a federal judge on Aug. 21 (pdf).
“The full scope and details of that investigation, however, have not been made public.”
The prosecutors wrote the letter to the U.S. District Court judge in Ghislaine Maxwell’s criminal case, urging the judge to block Maxwell’s lawyers from filing newly obtained documents in civil cases that were brought against the British socialite.
Maxwell’s lawyers said earlier in August that they had learned of “critical new information” that could affect her criminal case and a civil case.
The prosecutors said it was inappropriate for Maxwell’s lawyers to file those documents, as they could have adverse effects on the grand jury investigation.
“It would be grossly inappropriate for [the] defense counsel to be permitted to sift through the criminal case discovery and cherry-pick materials they may believe could provide some advantage in their efforts to defend against accusations of abuse by victim plaintiffs, delay court-ordered disclosure of previously sealed materials, or any other legal effort the defendant may be undertaking at any particular time,” they wrote in the letter. “And yet that is what the defendant proposes.”
Maxwell, the former girlfriend and associate of Epstein, was arrested in July on charges accusing her of facilitating and aiding Epstein by recruiting, grooming, and sexually exploiting minor girls. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is held without bail.
Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell in 2019, which triggered speculation about whether he had died of a suicide, as the city’s medical examiner ruled.
He was charged in July 2019 with sexually exploiting dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005. Maxwell, meanwhile, was accused of helping Epstein recruit and eventually abuse girls from 1994 to 1997 and lying about her role in 2016.
Following Epstein’s death, Attorney General William Barr issued a warning for anyone involved in the case, saying: “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and we will ensure they get it.”
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.