The presiding judge in a civil case against the top aide to Jeffrey Epstein is backtracking on the latest release of documents, instructing court staff to strike them from the record as a questionable cleanup effort gets underway.
U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska of the Southern District of New York wrote in a letter Monday night that the publication of photos of Epstein and his madame Ghislaine Maxwell with several young women, including victims, should never have occurred.
“The Clerk of the Court is directed to strike docket entry 1332-7 in the above-captioned case because it contains inadvertently disclosed images that should have been redacted,” Judge Preska wrote. “Counsel shall re-file the stricken document as soon as is practicable.”
Some of the photos, released Monday, show Epstein and Maxwell surrounded by young girls in pajamas or other skimpy attire while playfully embracing on couches or in front of the camera. Another shot shows Epstein hugging another aide, Sarah Kellen, who was responsible for helping to schedule his massages, a coded phrase that those around Epstein used to indicate sexual encounters with minors.
The photos were provided by survivor Sarah Ransome, who previously spoke with investigators about the insidious ways in which the women around Epstein would work to groom young girls like her for his perverted pleasures.
“They were really naughty. You know, they took girls from very underprivileged families. They gave them accommodation, they gave them food, gave them money for transportation, you know, private planes, etc, etc.,” Ransome said according to a deposition released as part of the case.
Virginia Giuffre, another survivor, brought the suit against Maxwell which was ultimately settled in 2017. Since then, Giuffre and her attorneys have pushed for the disclosure of evidence gleaned during the trial.
Dates show the photos were taken circa 2006 at the Epstein compound in the Virgin Islands, site of many of his heinous crimes. Despite being convicted in 2008, the notorious pedophile was granted authority to help oversee reforms to the islands’ sexual offender laws, paving the way for him to abuse young girls for another decade.
Maxwell is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for crimes related to the grooming and abuse of young women. Epstein died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting charges, according to a federal report which faulted jail officials for failing to properly guard against death at his own hand.