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Ghislaine Maxwell fails to obtain delay in unsealing documents

Reuters logo Reuters 12/08/2020 By Jonathan Stempel
a man smiling for the camera: FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing in Manhattan Federal Court in New York © Reuters/JANE ROSENBERG FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing in Manhattan Federal Court in New York

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected Ghislaine Maxwell's request for a three-week delay in the unsealing of additional documents related to her dealings with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Lawyers for the British socialite, who faces criminal charges she aided Epstein's sexual abuses, had on Monday said "critical new information" had surfaced that could affect Maxwell's ability to obtain a fair trial, justifying the delay.

But in a two-page order, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan said she had no reasonable basis to order a delay, because a protective order in the criminal case meant the new information could not be disclosed.

Lawyers for Maxwell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The documents come from a long-settled civil defamation case against Maxwell by Virginia Giuffre, who said Epstein kept her as a "sex slave" with Maxwell's help.

Maxwell has asked the federal appeals court in Manhattan to block the release from that case of a 2016 deposition about her sex life, also citing the threat to a fair trial.

That court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Sept. 22. Maxwell's criminal trial is scheduled for next July.

U.S. prosecutors are expected by Thursday to respond to a separate request by Maxwell's lawyers that she be moved into the general population at the Brooklyn jail where she is being held.

The lawyers said Maxwell has been subjected to "uniquely onerous" conditions, including 24-hour surveillance and numerous body scans, and should be treated like other pretrial detainees.

Epstein was found hanged last August in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, 2-1/2 weeks after an apparent unsuccessful suicide attempt.

Maxwell's lawyers called her treatment in jail "a reaction" to Epstein's jailing and death.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Grant McCool)

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