Crime and Safety

Judge Makes Huge Ruling in Epstein Litigation and Hands Anonymous ‘John Does’ Worst News of the Case

Names of some individuals connected to either Jeffrey Epstein or Ghislaine Maxwell will be released after a judge on Friday ruled that eight people named “John Doe” in court documents should be identified.

There is one exception. An individual called “John Doe 183″ in court documents will remain anonymous for now, Judge Loretta A. Preska ruled,  according to Insider.

The individual was named over and over in Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial, but Preska said she would allow that person to appeal.

“That Doe’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein has been a subject of intense media coverage, and Doe 183’s name has appeared in numerous places in unsealed portions of Ms. Maxwell’s criminal trial transcript,” Preska said Friday hearing.

“In the court’s view, there’s no reason to redact Doe 183 from the documents,” she said.

Two of the individuals whose identities were concealed were alleged victims of the sex trafficking ring Epstein was alleged to have operated prior to his death.

Emmy Taylor and Sarah Ransome were named, although Preska as “ongoing trauma” for a third victim meant her name would stay sealed.

As of Friday, the name of Thomas Pritzker was released. He is a cousin of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. Preska said his name was cited in a deposition in which a witness said the witness did not recognize him.

Although Pritzker has said being named would cause irreparable harm, Preska disagreed noting that documents in which he was named existed elsewhere and that there were no accusations of illegal actions against him, according to Fox News.

Should all anonymous names in the Epstein litigation be made public?

The catalyst for Friday’s action was a letter from Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger that said Maxwell would not object to naming names, according to the Daily Mail.

“After careful review of the detailed objections submitted by [the eight Non-Party Does], counsel for Ghislaine Maxwell writes to inform the Court that she does not wish to further address those objections,” a letter from Menninger said.

“Each of the listed Does has counsel who have ably asserted their own respective privacy rights. Ms. Maxwell, therefore, leaves it to this Court to conduct the appropriate review consistent with the Order and Protocol for Unsealing Decided Motions,” the letter said.

Preska presided over a defamation lawsuit Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre filed against Maxwell in 2015, which has since been settled. However, documents gathered in the case have been sought by media outlets.

Giuffre’s lawyer Sigrid McCawley had told the judge that in the case of the John Does, it was “apparent that their objections essentially mirror objections to unsealing that this Court has already rejected: that unsealing certain documents might be embarrassing, would expose non-parties to media attention, and could result in some unfortunate association between the non-parties and Jeffrey Epstein or Ghislaine Maxwell.”

McCawley said “generalized aversion to embarrassment and negativity” by being linked to the case was not enough to keep the names private.

“Now that Maxwell’s criminal trial has come and gone, there is little reason to retain protection over the vast swaths of information about Epstein and Maxwell’s sex-trafficking operation that were originally filed under seal in this case,” she wrote in a filing.

Multiple high-profile individuals have been associated with Epstein, from Britain’s Prince Andrew to former President Bill Clinton. The prince settled with Giuffre, who had filed a lawsuit against him related to her claims of sexual abuse. Clinton has said he flew on Epstein’s private jet, but that was his only connection and has said the flights were for purposes related to global charity.

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