NEW YORK - A federal judge has ordered the public disclosure of the identities of more than 150 people mentioned in a mountain of court documents related to the late-financier Jeffrey Epstein, saying that most of the names were already public and that many had not objected to the release.
The people whose names are to be disclosed, including sex abuse victims, litigation witnesses, Epstein’s employees — and even some people with only a passing connection to the scandal — have until Jan. 1 to appeal the order, signed Monday by Judge Loretta A. Preska.
For several years, Preska has reviewed documents sought by the Miami Herald from a civil case, filed by one of Epstein’s victims, that eventually was settled.
Many of the records related to that lawsuit were publicly released in past years, but on Monday the judge made determinations about some portions of the records that were initially withheld on potential privacy grounds and what can be made public about certain people mentioned in the records.
In many instances, she noted that individuals had given media interviews or that their names had previously emerged publicly in various ways, including at a trial two years ago of Epstein’s associate and former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell.
Preska concluded that some portions of the records should remain confidential, including those identifying people who were children when they were sexually abused by Epstein and had tried to maintain their privacy.
The Epstein case has spawned countless conspiracy theories about the possible involvement of rich and powerful people in sex trafficking.
The three criminal cases brought by federal and state authorities, however, have focused on allegations about sexual abuse by Epstein himself and Maxwell.
Epstein took his own life in August 2019 in a federal lockup in Manhattan as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. He was accused of luring numerous underage girls to his homes under the guise of giving him massages, and then sexually abusing them.
Maxwell, 61, is serving a 20-year prison sentence after she was convicted in December 2021 of helping Epstein recruit and sexually abuse underage girls.