Ghislaine Maxwell’s ‘little black book’ on high-level contact to be released in sexual abuse trial
Ghislaine Maxwell’s “little black book” will be kept secret after an agreement not to publish the directory in her sex trafficking trial.
The decision, taken between the two legal teams over the weekend, will be seen as a boost for the British socialite and his high profile associates, including Britain’s Prince Andrew. The phone book was believed to be powerful evidence in the trial, revealing the names of prominent figures in Ms Maxwell’s circle and her boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.
However, only a few pages of the book, titled “Exhibit GX52”, were mentioned during the prosecution after Judge Alison Nathan cautioned against dropping the “unnecessary” name.
The prosecution agreed that only this small portion of the “black book” should be released as a sealed exhibit – meaning it is only accessible to both parties and the jury.
“It is not offered for the truth of the facts stated therein, and you cannot consider it for that purpose,” read a letter from Damian Williams, an American lawyer, to Judge Nathan.
“On the contrary, you can only consider it to the extent that you think it is relevant to show a link, if any, between Ms Maxwell and the names and phone numbers listed and how, if any, l information has been organized. ”
A partially edited copy of Epstein’s black book leaked online in 2015, revealing the names of nearly 2,000 contacts. Former US President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and actor Kevin Spacey were among the names. There is no suggestion that they are being charged with wrongdoing. The defense had argued that there was no evidence that the book was one which, according to Juan Alessi, the former head of the house of Epstein’s Florida villa, was commonly used by Ms Maxwell and d ‘others to book massages and other girl tours. The government closed its case on Friday, calling a total of 24 accusers and witnesses. The hearing was adjourned until Thursday due to a scheduling issue.
Ms Maxwell’s attorneys revealed on Sunday night that they plan to call 35 witnesses, far more than expected. The defense had to scramble to put together a team after the prosecution rested more than a week earlier.
The defense team told the judge on Friday that they expected their case to last longer than four days, leaving some to speculate the case could be closed by Christmas Day – Ms. Maxwell. It now seems unlikely.
Attorney Bobbi Sternheim wrote to the judge that some witnesses would come from outside the southern district of New York covered by the court and others from “overseas.” She requested that three witnesses be granted the right to testify anonymously.
“The court’s decision on this issue may impact the willingness of these witnesses to testify, thereby compromising Ms. Maxwell’s right to present her defense, and may affect the order to testify,” Ms. Sternheim wrote.
The prosecution opposes the request and complained to the judge that they had only received a list of witnesses from the defense but no marching orders, which prevented them from preparing.
The government case included testimony from friends and family of the women, a psychologist specializing in sexual abuse and trauma, and former Epstein employees.