Attorneys for alleged Jeffrey Epstein “sex slave” Virginia Roberts Giuffre were ordered Wednesday to destroy evidence from her case against Ghislaine Maxwell — as lawyer Alan Dershowitz was also denied access to the potentially explosive information.
Manhattan federal court Judge Loretta Preska said she was “troubled” to learn during oral arguments last week that Giuffre’s lawyers, from the firm of Cooper & Kirk, had been given sealed records from her since-settled suit against Maxwell, who Giuffre claims recruited her to have sex with Epstein and his pals while she was underage.
The other men allegedly include Dershowitz, who Giuffre is suing for defamation over his public denials of her accusations, including calling her a “certified, complete, total liar,” and who is counter-suing Giuffre for causing “serious harm…to his reputation, his business and his health.”
“As a practical matter, the Court would be surprised — shocked, even — if Cooper & Kirk was not in some sense ‘using’ the Maxwell discovery in its representation of Ms. Giuffre in her action against Mr. Dershowitz,” the judge wrote.
Preska also rejected claims by Giuffre’s lawyers that they were entitled to the evidence, obtained from her former attorneys at Boies Schiller Flexner, because they’d been hired to represent her in the Maxwell case.
The 13-page ruling said that Cooper & Kirk “has not, from what the Court can tell, been actively working on the case.”
Preska directed the Cooper & Kirk lawyers to destroy the evidence, along with “any material, including work product, derived from” it, and to submit an affidavit afterward.
Preska also rejected a request by Dershowitz for access to “all filings and discovery materials, including third-party discovery” from the Maxwell case, saying that “it is not a targeted strike that Mr. Dershowitz proposes, but a carpet bombing.”
Although both cases are related, she said, “they are not coextensive” because Giuffre’s suit against the famed Harvard law professor “involves a much narrower range of conduct than what was at issue in her action against Ms. Maxwell.”
“The Court is thus skeptical that judicial economy would be served by handing Mr. Dershowitz a mountain of discovery from a separate case that may not even be relevant to his defense or to his counterclaims against Ms. Giuffre,” Preska wrote.
In a footnote, the judge also said that although she didn’t think Dershowitz would be “brazen” enough to release the evidence, she was concerned that he might be tempted “to be more cavalier with the sealed materials” to help defend his reputation.
“As a general matter, Mr. Dershowitz’s battle with Ms. Giuffre has proceeded in very public — and frequently toxic — fashion,” Preska noted.
Neither side returned requests for comment.