The byzantine Jeffrey Epstein criminal sex case breakout: a federal appeals court orders documents unsealed and Epstein is arrested in a new case


[Pictured above:  Utah attorney, law professor, and former federal judge Paul G. Cassell, who, with Florida attorney Bradley Edwards, have represented females in civil cases against Jeffrey Epstein, including under the federal Crime Victims' Rights Act targeting Epstein's plea bargain in the Florida sex crimes case.]

By Robert Willmann

With more byzantine intrigue than a story by Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie, the sordid and ongoing machinations around the sexual misconduct by "billionaire financier" Jeffrey Epstein against underage girls have fortunately in the last four days broken out of the tightly woven coverup in both the federal criminal justice system and in assorted civil lawsuits through confidential settlements and sealed court papers. 

Quietly issued on Wednesday, 3 July 2019, by the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York was a 26-page opinion and decision in a civil case relating to Epstein (although he was not a party to it) that ordered the unsealing and disclosure of around 2,000 pages of documents that were part of a request (motion) for "summary judgment" during the civil lawsuit.  Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is a procedure in a civil case in which one party tries to get a ruling in its favor on one or more issues in the lawsuit without a trial, because there is no genuine issue of material fact about the particular issue.  If no genuine factual dispute exists from the evidence about an issue, there is no need to have a trial to decide the particular fact.  Thus, the name:  summary judgment.  If successful on all issues, a party can succeed and get a final judgment without a trial.   It is a procedure done all on paper, with the evidence being documents and other proof and exhibits relating to the written request filed in the court clerk's file.  If there is a court hearing on the motion, no new evidence is introduced; it is already in the clerk's file.  At such a hearing which is only to the judge, arguments will be made about the summary judgment request and response to it by the lawyers for the parties [1].

As a further twist in the Epstein matter, the appeal was about attempts to intervene in the case by parties who wanted some of the sealed documents in the lawsuit released, and not about the merits of the lawsuit itself!


Leaving out the chronology of the tangled events starting in 2008 that led up to the appeal just decided, this lawsuit was filed in 2015 in federal court in Manhattan, New York City, by Virginia Giuffre, who claimed she was one of the victims of Epstein.  She sued Ghislaine Maxwell, an alleged associate of Epstein, for defamation after Maxwell called Giuffre's claims "untrue" and "obvious lies".  Maxwell is the daughter of publisher Robert Maxwell, who died under mysterious circumstances, a story in itself.  Ghislaine filed a request for summary judgment against Giuffre, but it was denied by the trial court judge on 22 March 2017, in what the court of appeals said was a "heavily redacted opinion".  All of the evidence that was part of the motion for summary judgment remained under seal.  On 24 May 2017, Ghislaine and Giuffre reached a settlement agreement and signed it.  The case was closed in the trial court the next day, seemingly getting rid of that hot potato. 

But it was not to be.  On 11 August 2016, while the case was going on, Alan Dershowitz, one of the lawyers who represented Epstein in the Florida criminal case, tried to intervene in the lawsuit and get three documents unsealed that he said would show that accusations made by Giuffre against him were untrue.  Then, on 19 January 2017, Michael Cernovich, an Internet website blogger and self-described journalist, sought to intervene and get all of the summary judgment evidence unsealed.  On 6 April 2018, the Miami Herald newspaper and its reporter Julie Brown filed a request to intervene and have everything unsealed.  The trial judge granted the requests to intervene, but denied them any relief, keeping everything sealed and out of sight.  The intervenors appealed, putting the hot potato in the lap of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which said, beginning on page 4–

"Intervenors‐Appellants Alan M. Dershowitz ("Dershowitz"), Michael Cernovich ("Cernovich"), and the Miami Herald Company (with reporter Julie Brown, jointly the "Herald") appeal from certain orders of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Robert W. Sweet, Judge) denying their respective motions to unseal filings in a defamation suit. We conclude that the District Court failed to conduct the requisite particularized review when ordering the sealing of the materials at issue. At the same time, we recognize the potential damage to privacy and reputation that may accompany public disclosure of hard‐fought, sensitive litigation. We therefore clarify the legal tools that district courts should use in safeguarding the integrity of their dockets. Accordingly, we VACATE the District Court’s orders entered on November 2, 2016, May 3, 2017, and August 27, 2018, ORDER the unsealing of the summary judgment record as described further herein, and REMAND the cause to the District Court for particularized review of the remaining sealed materials."

The federal court of appeals opinion is here–

Epstein pled guilty on 30 June 2008 to two Florida state criminal prostitution charges, and as part of the disgraceful, so-called plea bargain, no federal offenses involving sex and sex trafficking with underage girls would be filed against him.  Among the lawyers representing Epstein in that case were Kenneth Starr — who had been a federal appeals court judge on the District of Columbia Circuit, Solicitor General in the Justice Department, and was the special prosecutor from 1994-1999 investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton — and Alan Dershowitz, who had taught at Harvard Law School.  That original case had gathered steam around 2006 with the Palm Beach Police Department, of Palm Beach County, Florida, investigating, but the department ultimately felt it was being stymied by both state and federal prosecuting authorities and agencies from proceeding with a full prosecution of Epstein's conduct.

However, the result was that no federal charges were filed, and Epstein's state sentence was "work release" in which he went to a special part of the jail in the evening to sleep, and then left the next morning to go to an "office" and "work" for 12 or so hours during the day.  This lasted about 13 months.  He was required to register as a sex offender under the Florida Sexual Predators Act [2].   The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains an Internet website to search for registered sex offenders [3].  The website page displayed for Epstein includes a sexual offender flyer on him that looks like this–

After Epstein's plea agreement in 2008, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida under the Crime Victims' Rights Act alleging that the plea agreement should be unsealed and perhaps cancelled and set aside, because the requirements of that law were not followed, including keeping the victims informed about the case.  On 21 February 2019, at least 10 years after the lawsuit was filed, the federal trial court judge in West Palm Beach, Florida — Kenneth Marra — finally ruled that federal prosecutors had violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act by failing to adequately notify two victims of the plea deal who were in the lawsuit. The appeals court opinion further said, on page 6, footnote, 1:  "The District Court has not yet determined the appropriate remedy".   But, as you might expect, the Department That Calls Itself Justice continues to maintain that its plea bargain agreement with Epstein was hunky-dory and copacetic, and there is no reason to invalidate it, especially if Congress did not put any specific remedies directed at the government in the Crime Victims' Rights Act.

Suddenly yesterday evening, the landscape changed.  Epstein was arrested at an airport in New Jersey when he arrived on a flight from Paris, France.  Around 5:30 p.m., witnesses saw FBI agents breaking through the door of his Manhattan, New York residence and executing a search warrant [4].

A sealed grand jury indictment was probably the basis for the arrest, although it could have been on an arrest warrant supported by an affidavit and complaint.  It is reported that Epstein will appear for an initial appearance tomorrow, Monday, 8 July, in a federal court in the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.

To spice things up, the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida involved in the slimy 2007-2008 Epstein plea bargain was none other than Alexander Acosta, who is now the U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Trump administration [5].

This mockery of criminal procedure and process in the court system started in 2006-2007 and continued to at least last night.  Keep that time frame in mind.

Is the new activity under the federal criminal law against Epstein going to be a detailed examination like was done to Paul Manafort?  Are they going to look at his past tax returns and examine his banking activity here and abroad? 

Or will we witness just another "limited hangout"?


[1]  Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 on summary judgment

[2]  The Florida Sexual Predators Act



[5]  Alexander Acosta, a former U.S. Attorney and now Secretary of Labor


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45 Responses to The byzantine Jeffrey Epstein criminal sex case breakout: a federal appeals court orders documents unsealed and Epstein is arrested in a new case

  1. Fred says:

    “Are they going to look at his past tax returns and examine his banking activity here and abroad? ”
    Which political party was Epstein most affiliated with? Did snoozy Jeff Sessions set this in motion a couple years ago or is this AG Barr?

  2. eakens says:

    Perhaps this is merely the tap on the shoulder for Trump to get going with the war on Iran.

  3. CK says:

    I believe that Robt. Mueller was Acosta’s superior on this case.
    Mueller also had final say on both the Whitey Bolger and Davis Asimov cases.
    Epstein and Bolger both became FBI informants.

  4. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Thanks for this; it’s far and away the most lucid overview I’ve seen of the re-emergence of the Jeffrey Epstein affair.

  5. Turcopolier says:

    “Epstein was a longtime acquaintance of Prince Andrew and Tom Barrack,[67] and has attended parties with numerous celebrities, such as Donald Trump,[68] Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, and Woody Allen.[69] In September 2002, Epstein flew Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, and Chris Tucker to Africa in his private jet. According to flight records, Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s plane 26 times.[62] Donald Trump said of Epstein in 2002: “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”[70]” wiki on Epstein

  6. marc Bellerose says:

    The Bulger bros. are tied to Weld as well.

  7. Walrus says:

    Epstein should fear for his life if it is suspected he has dirt on Prince Andrew or the Clinton’s.

  8. srw says:

    Current Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, handled Epstein’s case in the aughts while serving as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. I believe a U.S. attorney works for the Attorney General, a position that Mueller never filled. So I am at a loss as to the statement that Mueller was Acosta’s superior on this case although I suppose he would have had some input on it.

  9. jsn says:

    The slime here is really bipartisan. It would be delightful to see some nameless civil servants drain some swamp.

  10. CK says:

    I do not know.

  11. CK says:

    Mueller was Director of the FBI from 2001-2013. Who works for whom is a bureaucratic smokescreen. Mueller arranged the informant deal for Epstein. Look for the dotted lines in the org chart; the solid lines are always useful in a who whom misdirect.

  12. CK says:

    The Whitey Bolger treatment is bipartisan.
    To quote a very deceased person: “No man, no problem.”

  13. turcopolier says:

    Press rumor out there is that both Bill and Hil were guests on Little St. James Island.

  14. LG says:

    The “madam” in the case, Ghislaine Maxwell, is also interesting. She is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, alleged Mossad operative, who trapped M Vanunu for the Israelis. Looks like large blackmail web for the powerful, the rich and the famous.

  15. R says:

    It’s true; Hillary only went once though. This is a factional war, and it remains to be seen who is waging war against whom. Netanyahu was quick to pick up on this story to smear Barak, who has documented association with Epstein.

  16. turcopolier says:

    How do you know she only went once? I see that you have an e.mail suffix .gov. Do you work for the FBI or DOJ?

  17. Fred says:

    Gawker was sued into bankruptcy because they published video of wrestler Hulk Hogan. Boolean v. Gawker. It had nothing to do with Epstein.

  18. R says:

    Neither. I have been following your work for a while and appreciate–your old school, if you get what I mean. I can’t say for sure that Hillary only went once, but that is what is documented. This a factional war, as I said before. The irony here is that Ghislaine, who is a despicable human being, may very well be reliving what happened to her father, Robert, through her association with Jeffrey. Time will reveal all, but the Israeli connection is pertinent.

  19. Timothy Hagios says:

    What I’d love to see is a political version of Mutually Assured Destruction, where the corrupt bastards all release the dirt they’ve been keeping on each other at once. That could be quite the spectacle.

  20. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    FWIW, Zero Hedge had a post up this morning citing a statement by one Bradley Edwards, a Florida attorney for one of Epstein’s accusers, saying that Trump was the only one of a group of high profile Epstein associates whom he subpoenaed to respond and cooperate with useful information.

  21. Henry Barth says:

    The name is Bulger, not Bolger.

  22. Tidewater says:

    I think there’s a glitch here. The Mossad operative, ‘Cindy’ who trapped M. Vanunu because he had revealed secrets about the Israeli nuclear program was later identified as Cheryl Bentov. She lives in Florida with her husband and family. Cheryl Bentov–Wikipedia.

  23. PRC90 says:

    Tim, I think we are seeing a Swampian equivalent of the Great Peace created by the nuclear MAD threat in the second half of the twentieth century.
    Trump’s enemies will no doubt have dirt on him consequent to his decades of dealing with less than pristine counterparties, and he and his allies will not have been idle in collecting compromising material against his enemies. One outcome is that both sides have limited freedom of action to avoid triggering some degree of exchange of evidence.

  24. PRC90 says:

    Quote: ‘the younger side’. It would be interesting to see the interpretation of that deliberate choice of words, within the lexicon of the 2002-era East Coast social milieu.
    Trump need not have made that sentence, but appears to publicly and deliberately question the actual ages of Epstein’s companions.

  25. PRC90 says:

    I suspect that even the air that Epstein is currently breathing is being subject to a high level of protection.

  26. Fred says:

    The latest rumour in the press is that Epstein had CDs with photo evidence of people In flagrante delicto. He would never extort anyone, would he?

  27. PRC90 says:

    The Pilot’s Flying Logbook pages in those links are interesting. The pilot appears to be ‘David [indecipherable]’.
    It’s quite unusual that a pilot would record passenger names in his logbook as well as in the passenger manifest, which is a separate document that on this type of flight would be the responsibility of the flight attendant in the cabin. His motivation or reason to do so would be worth pursuing.
    The manifests themselves would stay with the company flight office before being destroyed after their required period of retention (twelve months ?), and by now would be long gone.

  28. Eric Newhill says:

    Looks like this Epstein thing is going to be a lot like the Russia thing. Anyone who talked to a Russian about anything after 2015 is a traitor and anyone who ever socialized or did business with Epstein is a pedophile scumbag. Epstein will be a political hand grenade that elites throw at each other for months to come.
    Lost in all of that will be that Epstein is a wealthy high flying fancy pants that rubbed shoulders with just about everyone in those circles because it’s a small world at the top. I’m going to have to turn off the news for a while.

  29. LondonBob says:

    Epstein seems to have made his money as Wexner’s protege. Wexner being a major Israeli donor and also purportedly having links to the Jewish mob. Certainly an angle that deserves scrutiny.

  30. Jack says:

    The kid gloves with which Epstein’s depravity of raping children were treated by both state and federal prosecutors is yet another example of the deep corruption in the “rule of law”. Paul Kennedy’s book on the Rise and Fall of Great Powers talks about the disintegration of internal cohesion as a great power begins it journey down. The open mockery of the rule of law by well connected elites shows how far we have fallen.

  31. Eric Newhill says:

    Except that only key players in 2020 that will not be tainted by all of the fast and wide flying outrage and innuendo are the ones that are the likely democrat candidates; Harris, Comrade Bernie and Pocahonky. They don’t travel in Epstein’s circle.

  32. walrus says:

    Errrrrr, No Eric. Contrary to your opinion, with respect, the people I am aware of who fit a more polite description than yours are actually extremely careful of exactly who they rub shoulders with and would give Epstein a wide berth unless they also wanted what he was purveying.
    They are most careful to avoid situations where they can be ambushed either in a social or business sense by social climbers and get-rich-quick merchants, charity beggars as well as blackmailers, paparazzi and politicians, many are afraid of much social contact for these reasons. To put it another way, they often feel like prey.
    The idea that anyone, especially a well known public figure, is going to just jump into someone’s private jet and vanish to their private resort on a whim without doing their homework is the stuff of cheap, trashy novels.
    The ones I know of have security details with associated intelligence capability and hardly move without careful checks. Nor do they attend “drug filled orgies” and other such tabloid staples. Epsteins proclivities would have been well known around New York.
    I could imagine the very unwary and badly advised jetting off with Epstein once, but twice or more?? They knew exactly what was on offer and were comfortable with it.

  33. walrus says:

    Jack, from reading the indictment Epstein appears to have been most careful to not to commit crimes that would leave evidence leading to a charge of rape.

  34. CK says:

    So it is, my apologies to any Bolgers harmed by my spelling error.

  35. LG says:

    She may have lured him to Rome, but it was Maxwell that outed Vanunu as the source of the leaks on the izzie n program.

  36. LG says:

    There’s a lot of speculation that Epstein didn’t have any known hedge fund that accounted for his fortune and that the entire pedo ring was a scam to blackmail and then extort money from his billionaire dupes. I believe that’s truth only in part.The money extorted may have kept him and the bankrupted madam in style. Yet the main motive of his backers and protectors was blackmail for political gain- not money.
    I am really pleased at this turn of events. Such justice can only happen in America. It’s what made it great and continues to make it great.
    In the shit-hole country I belong to, the judge would have been killed and the witnesses disappeared, bought over or intimidated.

  37. AK says:

    I used to occasionally do work at Wexner’s estate in New Albany, OH in the early 2000s. It is a vast, heavily protected compound with well-armed guards (rifles, etc) patrolling the grounds on ATVs. He certainly protects his property as though he is someone with formidable enemies.

  38. R says:

    Correct. Look at Leslie Wexner and his relationship to Epstein if you want to follow this angle. He has great hatred for Trump:
    What’s more, it’s public now that Epstein’s sweetheart deal in FL 2008 was motivated by his value to certain elements within the IC:

  39. Eric Newhill says:

    I don’t see a lot of old school blue bloods/WASPs involved in politics and jet setting high finance get rich quick business these days. It’s increasingly the social climbing river boat gambler types, like the Clintons (or Trump). Even the British royals have fallen to this level according to reports.

  40. “I am really pleased at this turn of events. Such justice can only happen in America. It’s what made it great and continues to make it great.”
    Yes. The comparison with Belgium is instructive. But (1), this justice is happening, if it does happen, because the elites are at each others’ throats. Though that doesn’t take away from the fact that the American administrative and judicial apparatus is able to deliver the goods properly when allowed and I suspect that may not always be the case in most other places. (2), If it’s much slower it’ll be the historians, not the Courts, delivering the verdicts.

  41. Fred says:

    The thing with grooming gangs is to get ‘m while they are young. I’m sure the same principles applies to extortionists. Find the young, the naive, and the gullable and groom the ones you may need services of in the future. You can always steer people to decide they want to be elected to the schoolboard, county commission, state legislature.

  42. Eric Newhill says:

    I know that some think Epstein is at least part time an Israeli intelligence operative and/or part of some Jewish mafia and/or running and/or extortion racket.
    Maybe he does dabble in some or all of that. Or maybe he’s just a very competent psychopathic con man who indulges in maximum self-glorification and debauchery and who likes to drag others into it, as psychopaths are wont to do – because, to the extroverted psychopath, it is fun and exciting to live in a constant swirl of action, shallow relationships and to get others to compromise their morals. It confirms the psychopath’s world view and, as the center of the activities, bolsters his ego. These are extremely narcissistic individuals. Being the ring master of a circus involving celebrities and the rich and powerful is the ultimate rush for these types. Corrupting young women and girls is also fun and exciting. Makes the psychopath feel like he owns their souls; another concept that pumps up their egos. Same for getting over on people.
    Even people with experience in working on others often fail to grasp the mind of the psychopath. They think they can analyze rational motives and predict behavior, but there really aren’t any rational motives. It’s all about boosting a sense of self as master of the universe (but through deception and manipulation and beating the system, not hard work) and feeding a need for constant excitement. Other than that, there’s no one home.

  43. Denise says:

    Maybe an investigative reporter can expound upon William Barr’s father, Donald , who in 1974 hired Jeffrey Epstein as a teacher at the Dalton School. Donald was the headmaster at that time. Jeffrey did not have a college degree. What was that all about? Was there a quid pro quo arrangement of some sort? How ironic, that William, as Attorney General, is investigating Jeffery’s alleged “ suicide.”
    More likely than not, Barr was probably tasked with ensuring that Epstein never went to trial. This whole affair and it’s sordid details, including Alexander Acosta’s sweetheart 2008 plea deal with Epstein and Les Wexner’s long-standing financial involvement with Epstein, infers something much more sinister is involved in this story. There have been allegations that Epstein was involved in both US and Israeli intelligence. Can someone please connect all the dots!

  44. turcopolier says:

    “Barr was probably tasked with ensuring that Epstein never went to trial.” Scurrilous partisan BS. You know nothing of the sort.

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