Lewd terms, code words in Epstein case: All you need to know about

NEW DELHI: In a lawsuit brought by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre, a federal court in New York ordered Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers to conduct a thorough search of her emails for a variety of explicit terms and high-profile names. This directive came amid a legal battle involving Maxwell, who has been linked to Epstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, a Fox News report said.
Giuffre’s legal team focused on several key names in Maxwell’s circle, including British Prince Andrew, and terms such as “nipple,” “schoolgirl,” “servitude,” and other sexual phrases. The term “massage,” which was reportedly used by Epstein as a code word for sex with young women and girls employed as massage therapists, was also included in the search list.
However, Maxwell’s legal team contested the inclusion of over a hundred names and terms. They argued that the list contained first names common among Epstein’s accusers and associates, which could lead to many unrelated emails being flagged due to their prevalence. The lawyers also raised objections to the search for “common words,” names of lawyers, and other keywords.
Digital forensics expert Frank Thornton explained that such negotiations over search terms are standard in lawsuits. The legal software can quickly scan vast amounts of documents for subjects that fall outside specific keywords, providing insights into the case, the Fox News report said.
As per the Fox News report, some of the phrases, like “joint* w/3 defend*,” could potentially reveal emails discussing a “joint defense privilege” between Maxwell and Epstein. Other terms with the “w/3” qualifier, such as “high* w/3 school*,” “school* w/3 girl*,” and “sex w/3 toy*,” were also sought after by Giuffre’s lawyers, along with references to law enforcement agencies like the FBI and state and federal prosecutors.
The documents in question include redacted and sealed files that remained confidential years after the end of a 2015 lawsuit between Giuffre and Maxwell. US District Judge Loretta Preska ordered their unsealing in December, allowing for the release of the first batch of unsealed files.
The documents that came out in the past week have revealed little new information about Epstein’s crimes. They lacked the shocking disclosures or fresh names of perpetrators that some expected.
Epstein, a wealthy financier, mingled with celebrities, prominent scholars and influential figures from the fashion and political spheres before he was arrested in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2006 and charged with paying underage girls for sex.
He spent 13 months in a jail work release program. His plea deal, which sparked outrage after the Miami Herald reported on it, prompted federal prosecutors in New York to file new sex trafficking charges against Epstein in 2019, and he took his own life in a federal prison cell while awaiting trial.
Prosecutors also accused Maxwell, who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for aiding Epstein in sexually abusing underage girls.
Many women allege that Epstein sexually abused them at his residences in New York, Florida, the Virgin Islands and New Mexico.
The documents that were released this month pertain to a 2015 defamation lawsuit that Giuffre brought against Maxwell and was resolved in 2017. Most of the court record has been public for a long time, but the documents drew more attention after a judge ordered that some sealed parts be fully disclosed.
A lot of the lawsuit focused on the veracity of Giuffre’s allegations that Epstein had taken her around the world for sexual encounters with the rich, the powerful, the royal and the political.
(With inputs from agencies)
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