Prosecutors seek secrecy as Jeffrey Epstein probe continues

NEW YORK (AP) - An investigation into the sexual abuse of girls and women by financier Jeffrey Epstein is ongoing. Prosecutors are trying Tuesday to prevent his jailed ex-girlfriend's lawyers from learning too much about it until two months before her criminal trial next summer.
Manhattan prosecutors told a judge in a letter they wanted to delay the delivery of materials from dozens of victims who work with the government and who lawyers for British socialist Ghislaine Maxwell do not want to testify in court. The active probe leaves the possibility of additional arrests open.
58-year-old Maxwell has been on bail since her arrest in July for recruiting and at times joining the abuse of teenage girls for the Epstein abuse in the mid-1990s. She pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors want to postpone the handover of some victims' material to the defense until eight weeks before a trial scheduled for July.
A message was left with attorneys for Maxwell for a comment. Prosecutors said defense attorneys announced they would oppose the confidentiality motion.
In their letter, prosecutors said the disclosure of 40 pages of photos and 40 pages of documents relating to Epstein victims injured after the time passed by the Maxwell indictment jeopardized the ongoing government investigation and other victims could discourage cooperation.
Prosecutors said the charges against Maxwell related to illegal sex acts that took place between 1994 and 1997. However, the charges arose from a wider investigation that went beyond that period.
As part of the broader investigation, investigators interviewed dozens of victims sexually assaulted by Epstein after 1997 and received a limited number of sensitive documents and photos, including school pictures, as well as bank and travel documents.
Prosecutors said they had no intention of offering the materials as evidence in court, while also wanting to hand them over to the defense at the same time as materials relating to other non-testifying witnesses.
Otherwise, the prosecutors could disrupt the ongoing investigation.
Prosecutors initially said they wanted to keep the scope of their investigation secret, in part to encourage other victims to cooperate.
Epstein, 66, committed suicide in August 2019 while staying at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal prison next to the Manhattan federal courts. At the time, he was charged with federal sex trafficking and was held without bail one month after his arrest.

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