Appeals court orders unsealing of the Jeffrey Epstein files

More than a decade ago, a federal prosecutor named Alexander Acosta set up a secret sweetheart deal for Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy, Trump-connected admitted multiple rapist of underaged teen girls who was thought to be running a trafficking ring for wealthy, well-connected sexual predators, that saw Epstein serving only 13 months in a minimum security facility, on a work-release program that let him spend most of that time out of a cell.

Today, Alexander Acosta is Trump's Secretary of Labor, and, as documents later revealed, his actions ensured that the details of Epstein's sentence were hidden from the public; Epstein has used expensive legal tactics to keep those details out of the public eye. More than a decade later, the powerful, wealthy people who protected Epstein are still on the job, and Trump's DoJ is working overtime to make sure the dozens of women who say they were raped by Epstein when they were girls will not be able to seek justice.

But the secrecy might finally be ending: last week, the Second Circuit appeals court ruled that 2,000 pages of previously sealed files implicating Epstein should be released to the press, overturning US District Judge Robert Sweet's decision to keep the files a secret because they would "promote scandal arising out of unproven potentially libelous statements."

The files that will be unsealed come from a civil case pursued against one of Epstein's associates by someone who claims she was trafficked for sex by Epstein and his circle.

Today’s ruling kicks off a lengthy process for unsealing the files. The Second Circuit itself plans to unseal a summary judgment record. Another judge will take over the role of carefully unsealing the remainder of the files for Sweet, who died in March at the age of 96.

In a partial dissent, U.S. Circuit Judge Rosemary Pooler argued that all of the files should have been handled by the trial judge.

“On that score, it is worth clarifying here the breadth of the court’s unsealing order: it unseals nearly 2000 pages of material,” Pooler emphasized. “The task of identifying and making specific redactions in such a substantial volume is perilous; the consequences of even a seemingly minor error may be grave and are irrevocable.”

Boies said that he and his client Giuffre are readying for a protracted process.

Court Orders Sunlight on Huge Tranche of Jeffrey Epstein Files [Adam Klasfeld/Courthouse News]

(Thanks, Kathy Padilla!)