- Ghislaine Maxwell doesn’t want Jeffrey Epstein’s “little black book” to be shown at her criminal trial.
- Her lawyers say the book, which lists people said to be connected with the dead pedophile financier, has been tampered with.
- Prosecutors say they plan to bring a witness who can testify about the contacts book’s authenticity.
Ghislaine Maxwell doesn’t want jurors to see a copy of the “little black book” Jeffrey Epstein kept in his mansion that listed contact information for their rich and powerful friends.
In partially redacted court filings from the past several weeks, federal prosecutors and attorneys for Maxwell have duked it out over whether a copy of the book — referenced in the filings as “Exhibit 52” — can be entered into evidence so that portions of it may be shown to jurors at the British socialite’s sex-trafficking trial, which is scheduled to begin with opening statements on Monday.
“Ms. Maxwell requests that the government be precluded from discussing the book at trial prior to a proper evidentiary foundation being established,” Maxwell’s lawyers wrote in a court filing.
The book, first published online by Gawker in 2015, includes the names and contact information of powerful people — including Donald Trump, Victoria’s Secret founder Les Wexner, and Prince Andrew — believed to be friends with the now-dead pedophile financier. Many of the people named in the book have said they have no idea how their names ended up in the book. Others — including Trump, Wexner, and Andrew — say they regretted their association with Epstein or had limited interaction with him.
Alfredo Rodriguez, who worked as a house manager at Epstein’s Palm Beach, Florida, mansion between 2004 and 2005, was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2010 for trying to sell the book for $US50,000 ($AU69,278) to Brad Edwards, an attorney representing dozens of women who have accused Epstein and Maxwell of sexual misconduct. The book has been in FBI custody ever since, prosecutors said in court filings. Another digital copy was made public through litigation from Virginia Giuffre, a woman who’s accused Epstein and Maxwell of misconduct. Rodriguez died in 2015.
Attorneys for Maxwell sought to exclude the book as “unauthenticated hearsay” in a motion filed on November 12. Maxwell’s trial will address charges from federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who say she sex-trafficked and sexually abused young girls in concert with Epstein. She’s pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Maxwell’s attorneys say the copy of the book that prosecutors seek to enter into evidence may have been tampered with. The photocopy prosecutors submitted under seal, they say, has “unexplained faded marks” and “photocopies of tabs” that “suggest that pages have been added, omitted or altered.”
“There is no evidence to suggest that these documents were created or maintained by anyone,” her attorneys wrote. “It is entirely probable that whatever the documents are they were manipulated or manufactured by Mr. Rodriguez in an effort to get a $US50,000 ($AU69,278) payday.”
Prosecutors argued that they planned to show excerpts from the book itself, not just a photocopy. They also said they want to bring “a witness with personal knowledge of the physical book” and who worked for Epstein to testify about its authenticity.
“Employee-1 has examined Government Exhibit 52 in preparation for trial and recognizes it to be the defendant’s contact book, copies of which were maintained in Epstein’s Palm Beach residence, among other locations. Employee-1 recognizes the shape, color, and binding of the book, and recognizes the formatting and style of the entries as consistent with the manner in which the defendant’s book was organized and the way in which entries appeared,” prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors also said they plan to bring a witness who’ll testify that Maxwell and Epstein kept “multiple copies” of two sets of contact books, and that written instructions for household staffers referenced those books. Rodriguez also said in an affidavit before his death that Epstein’s employees maintained the copies of the books. Earlier this year, Insider obtained and verified another copy of the book that Epstein had in 1997.