By Zachary Stieber
Federal prosecutors were ordered Friday to name the alleged co-conspirators of Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend ahead of her trial on sex trafficking charges.
Prosecutors must reveal the identities to Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of abusing and trafficking underage girls with the late Epstein, because it failed multiple times to object to Maxwell’s requests to do so, U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan said in her order.
Prosecutors last month said that they did not want to “provide an exhaustive list of co-conspirators, whether in a bill of particulars or otherwise, and does not intend to do so absent further order of the Court.”
They also said they only planned to introduce co-conspirator statements from Epstein and an employee of Epstein at the upcoming trial and argued there was “no basis” to require disclosure of the currently unnamed alleged co-conspirators.
“This Court has twice concluded that no bill of particulars is warranted because the defendant has adequate information to prepare for trial and avoid unfair surprise,” they said in a filing in the case.
Nathan, an Obama nominee who once served as an associate White House counsel during the Obama administration, disagreed.
“The Court concludes that the Government’s objection comes too late as the Government had multiple opportunities to raise its objection before this Court issued its opinion,” she wrote in her order.
The judge also noted that prosecutors left open the possibility of putting forth statements from more alleged co-conspirators at trial, which introduces the risk of surprise to Maxwell. That risk is bolstered by the conspiracies she’s accused of being involved with running from 1994 to 2004.
“Even if the Court were to find that the Government had not waived its objection, it would find unpersuasive the Government’s justifications for withholding this information,” Nathan said.
Federal authorities said last year that the investigation into Maxwell and other possible co-conspirators remained active, though the “full scope and details” of the probe had been shielded from public view. The probe was classified as a pending grand jury investigation.
Maxwell is slated to go on trial on Nov. 29 on charges including trafficking a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and conspiracy.
The indictment named Epstein as a co-conspirator. Epstein killed himself in federal prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
According to a superseding indictment filed in March, Maxwell enticed underage girls as young as 14 to travel to Epstein’s residences in multiple states even though she knew that would result in “their grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse.”
Maxwell allegedly lied when questioned about her conduct.
Maxwell pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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