July 23, 2020 / 10:12 AM / 18 days ago

U.S. judge orders release of documents related to Ghislaine Maxwell, who plans appeal

FILE PHOTO: Audrey Strauss, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a news conference announcing charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein in New York City, New York, U.S., July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday authorized the release of new records from a 2015 civil lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate who is facing criminal charges that she lured girls for the late financier to sexually abuse.

Over Maxwell’s objections, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan said the presumption the public has a right to access the records outweighed Maxwell’s arguments for keeping them sealed, including that they could prove embarrassing.

Preska also said personal identifying information contained in the record, as well as the names of many “non-parties,” will be redacted.

The records will not be released immediately, after the judge granted Maxwell’s lawyer a week to file an emergency motion with the federal appeals court in Manhattan to block the release.

If the documents are released, they are likely to shed more light on Maxwell’s dealings with Epstein, as well as Epstein’s own conduct.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Leslie Adler and Frances Kerry

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