(FiveNation.com)- Last Friday, the federal judge in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial ruled that Federal prosecutors must divulge the identities of any unnamed coconspirators they plan on referencing during the trial.
The order, issued by Judge Allison Nathan, isn’t exactly explosive news. It is standard procedure for a judge to order prosecutors to provide the defense with the names of unnamed coconspirators if a case goes to trial. This is done so that the defendant is better able to prepare a defense.
The judge did not order the names of Maxwell’s coconspirators to be revealed publicly. Instead, she simply ordered prosecutors to share that information with the defense as a matter of course.
Judge Nathan also ordered prosecutors to disclose any coconspirator statements it intends to offer at trial.
Prosecutors initially objected to disclosing these statements, claiming that sharing this with defense would cause “potential danger to coconspirators” or risk compromising ongoing investigations.
However, Judge Nathan ruled that these claims were bogus. In her ruling, Nathan wrote that the Government provided “no explanation for this purported harm and none is apparent to the Court.” Nathan concluded that the prosecution’s claim “does not outweigh the risk of surprise to the Defendant.”
Maxwell’s defense had requested that prosecutors name the two coconspirators described in their criminal indictment in order to avoid being ambushed at her trial which is scheduled to begin on November 29.
Maxwell, the 59-year-old British socialite has been held without bail since her arrest in July of last year. She is accused of procuring underage girls for the late Jeffrey Epstein to abuse in the 1990s and early 2000s. Maxwell pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In addition to the sex-trafficking trial, Maxwell is also facing separate perjury charges in relation to a deposition she gave in a civil case filed by Virginia Giuffre. Giuffre has accused Epstein friend and son of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, of sexual abuse. Maxwell allegedly made false statements during that deposition.
Epstein was previously arrested and charged with sex crimes by the same prosecutor’s office as Maxwell, but killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell before he stood trial.