The first documents included emails, transcripts of depositions and legal filings.
Ties to Epstein already led to career downfalls for former Barclays Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley and Apollo Global Management co-founder Leon Black and have tarnished the reputations of billionaires Bill Gates, Leslie Wexner and many other prominent men.
All have denied knowing about or participating in inappropriate conduct with Epstein.
One document was a deposition of Maxwell, denying allegations about some of Epstein’s associates. The deposition had been previously released, though with some sections redacted.
It was unclear how much new information will be gleaned from the documents. Many of the people whose names will be unsealed are already known to have associated with Epstein, a fact Preska noted.
Some have been named in similar litigation as well. Virginia Giuffre, the Epstein victim who sued Maxwell, also sued Prince Andrew, who reached a settlement with her in 2022.
Preska said other names were disclosed during Maxwell’s criminal trial, at which a number of former Epstein employees appeared as witnesses.
The financier’s former private pilot testified that a number of famous individuals flew on the plane, including former US presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Eva Andersson-Dubin, an ex-girlfriend of Epstein who is now married to former hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin, testified for the defence at Maxwell’s trial.
Giuffre’s suit accused the British socialite of recruiting her at the age of 16 for sexual abuse by Epstein. After Maxwell called her a liar, Giuffre also sued for defamation.
The two reached a settlement in 2017, but the Miami Herald asked the judge to unseal material filed during the case. Various objections from both Maxwell and people whose names appeared in the documents delayed the process, even as names became public through other means.
One of the unsealed documents contained emails between Maxwell and Giuffre’s lawyers at Boies Schiller.
Preska kept the names of several Epstein victims sealed, saying their interest in privacy outweighed the public’s interest in transparency. But she released the names of some victims who did not object to unsealing and have already identified themselves in media interviews.
Giuffre, who now lives in Australia, has been one of the most outspoken Epstein victims, drawing attention to high-profile individuals who were in Epstein’s orbit.
In her suit against Andrew, she claimed he was one of several powerful men to whom Epstein “lent” her for abuse. The royal family later stripped King Charles’ younger brother of his honorific titles and royal patronages.
Epstein was charged with sex trafficking in July 2019 but died by suicide in a Manhattan prison cell before he could stand trial. Maxwell is serving a 20-year sentence for sex-trafficking.
While Epstein has been dead for almost four years, his crimes have continued to resonate across Wall Street.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. last year agreed to pay US$365 million to settle two lawsuits it financially benefited from his sex trafficking and failed to act on red flags. Both cases focused on Epstein’s close friendship with Staley, who previously headed private banking for JPMorgan.
Fabricated lists and doctored photos of Epstein have circulated in conspiratorial internet circles for years, fuelling 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.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
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