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Epstein files: Some surprising names and some names we knew
Virginia Roberts Giuffre is one of many women who have accused late financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender.

A New York federal court has begun releasing documents relating to her civil defamation suit.

The suit, filed in 2015, had been brought against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s well-known associate, who was also criminally accused. It thus enabled the public to discover Epstein’s complex network of relationships, notably with personalities from the worlds of politics, entertainment and business.

On Wednesday evening, a first wave of documents was revealed. It consists of 40 pieces representing hundreds of pages in which former US presidents, members of the British royal family and many other personalities have been named, including Michael Jackson, Stephen Hawking, David Copperfield, Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.

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The files contain depositions from Giuffre, who repeatedly claimed to have been sexually abused and trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell. Giuffre’s shocking testimony highlights that Maxwell allegedly asked him to have sex with a number of influential men, including Prince Andrew, Marvin Minsky, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Jean-Luc Brunel and Glenn Dubin.

The leaked documents include references to the likes of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Allegations range from Epstein’s use of a private jet for travel, to offhand comments reflecting certain preferences when it comes to women.

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After U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska issued an order stressing the importance of transparency and public interest in the legal proceedings, the court decided to unseal the documents. The judge postponed the publication of certain documents concerning individuals who had objected, citing the importance of protecting the privacy of individuals, including those who were either witnesses to the crime or victims themselves.

The unsealing has, as expected, reignited the debate over Epstein’s death, which occurred in August 2019 in a New York City jail cell. According to a Department of Justice report, Epstein committed suicide as a result of numerous failings on the part of prison employees. His death and the vast network of wealthy and powerful people he had built up were the subject of conspiracy theories and speculation for many years.

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Giuffre’s legal team insisted that the publication of the documents was a means of combating sex trafficking and ensuring accountability. For many of those involved, directly or indirectly, the publication of these documents could mean a new period of scrutiny.

Further documents are expected to be released as the media and public scour the pages for further clarification of Epstein’s involvement.

This is a new chapter for many survivors, participants and witnesses in this case. It is another step in an arduous journey towards the truth and, ultimately, towards the end of the case.

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