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Jeffrey Epstein Alamy Stock Photo

US judge begins to unseal identities of people linked in court documents to Jeffrey Epstein

Notably included in the documents were Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, who have not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case.

A NEW YORK judge has begun to unseal the identities of people linked in court documents to Jeffrey Epstein, the US financier who killed himself in 2019 as he awaited trial for sex crimes.

Notably included in the unsealed documents, which include almost 1,000 pages of depositions and statements, were former US presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, who have not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case.

The list of around 150 people include a host of Epstein associates previously identified as John or Jane Does in a lawsuit brought against Epstein’s former mistress, Ghislaine Maxwell. It carries no allegation of complicity in Epstein’s crimes.

The disclosure is part of a defamation proceeding between Maxwell, sentenced in 2022 to 20 years in prison, and a plaintiff against the duo, Virginia Giuffre.

Last month, a judge listed in a 50-page document some 180 cases – under pseudonyms – ordering that their identities be made public within 14 days of the order.

Some individuals have objected to the disclosure of their identities in the case.

Lawyers for one individual, “Doe 107″, wrote to the judge in the case arguing they could face victimisation in their home country, and requested time to submit grounds for their name to remain sealed.

According to British media, Giuffre’s defamation claim against Maxwell, 62, dates back to 2016 and was settled the following year. But the Miami Herald then took legal action to access the file and investigate the Epstein network.

A number of documents in the case were made public in 2019, days before Epstein died by suicide in prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Prince Andrew

In one document, a woman named Johanna Sjoberg claimed Britian’s Prince Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside the US billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001, while giving testimony in May 2016.

Buckingham Palace previously said the allegations are “categorically untrue”.

The court documents show that during Maxwell’s videotaped deposition in 2016, she claimed she could only recall the duke on Epstein’s island once.

Asked whether any girls under the age of 18 were present on that one occasion, she replied: “There were no girls on the island at all.

“No girls, no women, other than the staff who work at the house.

“Girls meaning, I assume you are asking underage, but there was nobody female outside of the cooks and the cleaners.”

Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with Epstein and paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to Giuffre, a woman he claimed never to have met.

The duke was cast out of the working monarchy and no longer uses his HRH style after Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17.

He strenuously denies all allegations.

Accomplices in sex crimes

Maxwell and Epstein were a couple in the early 1990s before becoming professional collaborators and accomplices in sex crimes for almost three decades.

Epstein, a financier with a powerful network in the United States and abroad, was himself accused of raping young girls, but his suicide by hanging in a New York prison in August 2019 halted his prosecution.

Fabricated lists and doctored photos of Epstein have circulated in conspiratorial internet circles for years, fueling speculation about the financier’s potential associates.

The anticipated release of names from court documents reignited that frenzy.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel threatened Aaron Rodgers with legal action after the American football star suggested the late night host could be on the list.

It was a baseless allegation echoed across platforms such as X, where numerous posts also drew actor Tom Hanks into the fold.

- © AFP 2024 with reporting by Press Association