Earlier this year, a survivor of sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein filed a lawsuit claiming the financier and his alleged accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, groomed her for sex in the '90s starting when she was 14. The woman, referred to as Jane Doe, also claimed Epstein introduced her to Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago and asked the future president, “This is a good one, right?” (Doe did not accuse Trump of any misconduct.)
On Monday, a federal judge put Doe’s lawsuit on hold pending the resolution of Maxwell’s criminal trial, scheduled for July 12, 2021. Maxwell, who is a defendant in Doe’s suit, is facing a slew of charges related to Epstein’s underage sex ring.
U.S. District Judge Debra Freeman ruled Doe’s litigation would result in “undue prejudice” for the British socialite. “Should discovery in the civil action proceed, Maxwell would be forced to decide whether to defend herself by making pretrial disclosures and giving deposition testimony (which could be used against her in the criminal case) or to invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination (which would protect her in the criminal case, but which could well result in an adverse inference being drawn against her in the civil case),” Freeman noted in her order.
Days before the ruling, federal prosecutors submitted a letter arguing “a complete stay of this civil action will serve the public interest of preserving the integrity of the criminal prosecution against Maxwell.” They said Maxwell’s indictment contains allegations that overlap with those mentioned in Doe’s complaint.
As we reported, Doe was the last holdout against Epstein’s estate. She had chosen to continue her litigation despite what her lawyers described as pressure from the estate’s co-executors, Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, to stay her case and pursue a claim with the victim’s compensation fund instead. (Survivors are not required to pause their litigation until they accept an offer from the fund.)
Before Doe’s case was interrupted, her lawyers tried to schedule depositions for Maxwell, Indyke, and Kahn. Doe’s attorney Robert Glassman has previously stated Indyke, Epstein’s longtime personal lawyer, “has firsthand knowledge of” Epstein’s relationship with Doe and “even acted on [Epstein’s] behalf to communicate with [Doe] on several occasions.”
In late August, Glassman fought to keep Doe’s case active, arguing in a letter that continuing the litigation was in the public’s interest.
“The continuation of this last remaining civil avenue can furnish the public with critical information as to defendant Maxwell's well known criminal enterprise, how it was operated and all those involved,” Glassman wrote to Freeman. “A stay of the civil proceedings would provide what defendant Maxwell has sought for years—concealing her heinous acts from public view.”
Delaying Doe’s case, Glassman added, “would simply delay long overdue justice” for his client.
“For too long Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell skirted the consequences of their vile acts…. Sadly, defendant Maxwell’s seeking a stay is consistent with her decades-long routine of resisting accountability for sexually abusing minors.”