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Attorneys for Ghislaine Maxwell, the former companion of deceased sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, are asking a federal judge to keep a batch of court records under seal, arguing that public interest in the documents is outweighed by privacy considerations and the potential impact a release of the documents could have on an ongoing criminal investigation into alleged accomplices of Epstein.
“Ms. Maxwell … is aware that investigations surrounding the alleged conduct of Mr. Epstein survive his death. It is unclear who are witnesses or targets of any investigation,” Maxwell’s attorney, Jeffrey Pagliuca, wrote Wednesday in a filing objecting to unsealing certain documents. “The sealed testimony or summaries may inappropriately influence potential witnesses or alleged victims.”
The sealed court filings in the case — a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit filed against Maxwell in 2015 by Virginia Roberts Giuffre — are said to contain the names of hundreds of people, some famous and some not, who socialized, traveled or worked with Epstein over the span of more than a decade. The late financier has previously been linked to a coterie of high-profile business leaders, scientists, royalty and politicians.
Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was found dead in an apparent suicide in prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges that he denied.
Among the records now being considered for release is a 418-page transcript of one of Maxwell’s multi-hour depositions in the case, which Maxwell’s attorneys argue were given under an expectation of confidentiality that had been agreed to by both sides in the dispute, according to Maxwell’s court filing.
“This series of pleadings concerns [Giuffre’s] attempt to compel Ms. Maxwell to answer intrusive questions about her sex life,” Pagliuca wrote. “The subject matter of these [documents] is extremely personal, confidential, and subject to considerable abuse by the media.”
The collection of documents now being reviewed for potential release by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska represents just a small subset of the thousands of pages of documents that must be reviewed for potential release, a process that could drag on for many months.
Giuffre has accused Maxwell of facilitating and participating in Epstein’s abuse of minor girls. Maxwell has denied Giuffre’s allegations. When the defamation case was settled in 2017, a substantial portion of the court docket remained sealed or redacted. The sealed records include the identities of people who provided information in the case under an expectation of confidentiality, plus the names of alleged victims and individuals accused of enabling Epstein or participating in the abuse.
Maxwell attorneys argue that the bulk of the sealed documents and exhibits should stay sealed, contending that they “were gratuitous and served no legitimate purpose” when they were submitted by Giuffre’s attorneys and because many of the documents contain the names of dozens of non-parties who have yet to receive notice that the records could be made public.
An attorney for Giuffre did not respond to a request for comment on Maxwell’s court filing.
Giuffre, now a 36-year-old mother living in Australia, alleges she was sexually abused as a teenager by Epstein and Maxwell between 2000 and 2002. She also claims to have been directed to have sex with some of their prominent friends, including Britain’s Prince Andrew. She filed the action against Maxwell in September 2015, alleging that the former British socialite defamed her when her publicist issued a statement referring to Giuffre’s allegations as “obvious lies.”
For the next year and a half, attorneys for the two women engaged in an acrimonious duel of pre-trial arguments, much of which took shape in heavily redacted or sealed court filings. The case settled just before a trial was set to begin in May 2017. A year later, the Miami Herald newspaper filed an ultimately successful motion to unseal at least some portions of the undisclosed record of the case.
Lawyers representing Giuffre, Maxwell, the Herald, and an anonymous individual who intervened to assert privacy interests, have been haggling for the last several months over their favored approaches to unsealing the records. The arguments over the protocols alone amounted to more than 50 additional entries on the court docket before Judge Preska arrived at the final procedure.
Earlier this month, notification letters were sent to two “John Does,” anonymous individuals whose names are among several dozen that appear in just the first batch of sealed and redacted documents currently under review by Preska, according to court records. Neither of those individuals responded to the letters, according to Maxwell’s court filing.
Giuffre has advocated for near-total disclosure of the records, while Maxwell and attorneys for the intervening individual have urged Preska to carefully balance the intense public interest in the case against potentially “life-changing” reputational damage that could befall those whose names are made public. Because the parties reached a confidential settlement, the allegations leveled in the dispute are unproven, having never been tested by an independent trier of fact.
Previously unsealed records from the case have already generated headlines around the world after a federal appeals court released more than 2,000 pages of documents last August, a month after Epstein’s arrest by federal authorities in New York.
Included in that collection were excerpts from Giuffre’s depositions naming several prominent men she alleges Epstein and Maxwell directed her to have sex with, including Prince Andrew, attorney Alan Dershowitz, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. All of those men, and others accused by Giuffre, have denied the allegations.
“The documents and exhibits should be carefully examined for the vivid, detailed and tragic story they tell in the face of cursory, bumper sticker-like statements by those accused,” Giuffre’s attorney, Sigrid McCawley, wrote in a statement on the day of the documents’ release. “Virginia Roberts Giuffre is a survivor and a woman to be believed. She believes a reckoning of inevitable accountability has begun.”
The morning after that first set of documents was made public, Epstein was found unresponsive in his jail cell in Manhattan, where he was being held pending trial on charges of child sex-trafficking and conspiracy.
Maxwell, 58, is the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 in what was ruled an accidental drowning off the coast of the Canary Islands. She met Epstein in New York following her father’s death, and the two were closely linked for more than a decade. Sources tell ABC News that Maxwell remains under criminal investigation by federal authorities in New York, who have vowed to hold responsible any alleged co-conspirators in Epstein’s sex trafficking conspiracy.
In previously unsealed excerpts from her depositions in the case, Maxwell derided Giuffre as an “absolute liar.” She has also denied allegations from Giuffre and other women who contend in court filings that Maxwell recruited and trained girls and young women for Epstein and facilitated their abuse.
“She absolutely denies that she participated in this or any other sexual abuse or trafficking or assault, and no court, judge or jury has ever determined that she has,” an attorney for Maxwell wrote last month in a related case.
Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Exchanges Vs RBI: The Supreme Court is now likely to hear the matter on January 14 Supreme Court directs to list Amit Bhardwaj’s case on January 20 Pune Court too has postponed the hearing to December 18, citing I/O absence on Nov 19 As documented by […]
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A United States court has ordered Christopher Bania, who recently pleaded guilty to drug distribution, to give up almost 17 Bitcoin (BTC) — worth roughly $150,000 at press time.
The plea, order and sentencing
Per the Oct. 19 order from a court in Wisconsin, Bania will need to forfeit “Approximately 16.91880054 Bitcoin seized from Bania’s ‘Local Bitcoins’ account.” Though worth roughly $153,100 as of publication, it is much less than the 124 BTC that the court is returning to the defendant, alongside various other cryptocurrencies and over $50,000 in cash seized from his residence upon arrest.
Though originally charged with money laundering, importation of controlled substances and maintaining a drug property, Bania’s plea on Sept. 6 was to the single charge of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.
Bania’s plea admits to selling marijuana, cocaine, MDMA and LSD on the dark web. However, he denies distributing the methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine base that authorities also found at his home.
U.S. border patrol originally launched the investigation into Bania’s dealings after intercepting two packages from Belgium containing MDMA. Investigators were able to trace Bania’s use of dark web distribution networks thanks to his transaction notebooks, which the court filings describe as “meticulous.”
Sentencing is currently scheduled for Dec. 9.
Other recent dark web prosecutions in the U.S.
A couple in California pleaded guilty to similar charges in August, as Cointelegraph reported at the time.
Near the end of July, a Florida man admitted to operating a massive opioid distribution network online. The court in that instance fined him over $4 million.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who hacked Los Angeles County court computers, sent 2 million malicious phishing emails and stole hundreds of credit card numbers has been sentenced in Los Angeles.
Oriyomi Aloba received a 12-year federal prison sentence Monday.
Authorities say the 33-year-old Katy, Texas, resident hacked the Superior Court computer system in 2017, compromised one worker’s email account and used it to send out phishing emails that obtained email addresses and passwords from hundreds of other workers.
Their accounts were then used to send out 2 million emails pretending to be from American Express, Wells Fargo and other companies to obtain banking and credit card information.
Prosecutors say Aloba’s hacking substantially disrupted the court system at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.
New Balance wants to extend its “kit” deal with Liverpool that it first forged in 2011 (“kit” is a British term for uniform). The Brighton-based athletic shoe and apparel company believes its contract allows it to match any competing offer, while Liverpool, owned by Boston-based Fenway Sports Group, believes it can maximize its newfound position as a global soccer powerhouse by striking a more lucrative deal with the far larger Nike company.
Adding an awkward local wrinkle to the High Court of England and Wales (Commercial) drama is that Fenway Sports Group also owns the Red Sox, and New Balance and the Red Sox have maintained a close corporate partnership that reached new heights just as the Liverpool-New Balance kit deal began.
Whether or not the Red Sox-New Balance relationship will be affected by the New Balance-Liverpool dispute is yet to be known.
What is known is that New Balance and Liverpool being unable to reach a settlement and having to go to court throws all the parties involved into a tangled web of deep-pocketed relationships.
“To me, it makes total sense there’d be a big fight, especially in European soccer,” said Jonathan Jensen, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina who teaches sports marketing. “There is no salary cap, and these players are going to the highest bidders with these transfer fees that are paid. It’s like Major League Baseball on steroids.
“[Liverpool] needs to siphon every dollar they can possibly get in order to compete at that level and in order to sign those players. Every single year, essentially, these players are up to the highest bidder.
“It stands to reason, even something as innocuous as an apparel or kit sponsor, is it that big of a deal? Well, they’re trying to wring every last dollar out of that deal because they know they’re going to need it to keep [top scorer Mohamed] Salah or whomever.”
Liverpool won the Champions League title in June, the latest and most significant feat in its rise to the uppermost tier of European soccer, joining the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, and Bayern Munich. Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool for $477 million in October of 2010. A month before its Champions League victory, Liverpool was valued at $2.2 billion by Forbes magazine.
New Balance, with estimated annual revenues of more than $4 billion, struck a kit deal with Liverpool in 2011, and its current deal expires at the end of the season next summer.
Liverpool has struck a preliminary deal with Nike to be its next kit supplier.
Nike, according to the Times of London, has guaranteed Liverpool $37.7 million a year, while the deal with New Balance pays Liverpool $56.6 million a year. Liverpool, according to the Times and other European soccer media, was swayed by Nike’s promise of a global distribution network twice as big as New Balance’s, and a higher-than-average royalty rate of 20 percent that would translate into more revenue than New Balance could provide.
In its glimpse at the court papers, the Times reported that Nike said it would promote kit sales by using superstars, including Liverpool part-owner and basketball star LeBron James, tennis star Serena Williams, and the musician Drake.
In a statement, New Balance lauded its ability to deliver two prior home kits for Liverpool fans “and we continue to match the ambition and achievements of the club as it grows from strength to strength.” The statement went on to say, “In line with our current contract, we have matched the offer made by Nike. As part of the contract renewal process, LFC has called into question elements of the agreement and as such we are asking the courts for clarity on this case.”
Irwin Kishner, co-chairman of the sports group at the New York-based Herrick Feinstein law firm, elaborated on the stakes.
“What’s got Liverpool all googly-eyed, if you will, is I think they see a much larger distribution network, particularly in Asia, more specifically China, and that market is ripe for the taking,” said Kishner, “and I see Liverpool saying, ‘Wait a second, what does New Balance have in comparison to Nike in China?’ And you really don’t have much of a comparison there; that’s just the way it is.
“From New Balance, I see this being a crown jewel that they are fighting tooth and nail to try and find a way of keeping in the family.”
The Red Sox and New Balance have been in business in a partnership that extends far beyond shoe deals.
A 2011 multiyear deal announcing New Balance as the ball club’s official footwear and apparel sponsor included the construction of the red neon “NB newbalance” video scoreboard that stands over the right-field bleachers at Fenway Park.
New Balance works closely with the Red Sox Foundation, the two serving as co-presenting sponsors of the Pan-Mass Challenge. New Balance is the presenting sponsor of Run to Home Base, which is co-sponsored by the foundation, and New Balance is listed as a charitable donor to the foundation.
At the very least, the fact that New Balance is taking to court the Red Sox’ “sister” company, Liverpool, creates a backdrop of tension against the deep ties currently maintained between the sporting world’s giants.
New Balance, the Red Sox, and Fenway Sports Group all declined to comment on whether the sponsorship deal between the Red Sox and New Balance has expired or is still active. They similarly declined to comment on any impact New Balance taking Liverpool to court would have on their relationship.
To add one more layer of context, the Boston Globe is owned by John Henry, the principal owner of Fenway Sports Group and the Red Sox. Henry did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Michael Silverman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB