High powered attorneys with questionable motives and potential conflicts of interest as co-conspirators of Jeffrey Epstein are dragging their feet on “discovery.” In the legal world, that could be a fatal mistake. If the judge gets angry enough, the court could rule in favor of the victims, granting everything they ask for simply because of unjustified and “obstructionist” conduct.
Discovery deadlines have consequences
It’s been nine months since pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell under highly suspicious circumstances, but his victims are no closer to seeing justice in the form of a check. The lawyer for three of Epstein’s victims went to court, advising the judge that “the estate’s legal team has yet to produce a single document.” That’s not good for the estate.
The “discovery” phase of litigation is crucial. Both sides exchange all of the documents and other evidence they plan to use at trial. Since the Defendant is usually in possession of what the Plaintiff needs to make their case, they’re allowed to request anything they want. If it exists, the other side must hand it over or object. The judge decides on objections.
Every legal jurisdiction has different rules and timing arrangements but generally a party has around 40 days to respond to discovery requests, one way or another. Usually, the bulk of the material gets handed over fairly quickly while the fighting goes on behind the scenes for the rest. In this case, it seems nothing has been turned over. According to the girls’ lawyer, the estate has engaged in “obstructionist conduct. Court intervention is required.”
Wide powers to mediate disputes
Sometimes the court gets called in to act as a referee and the judge has a wide range of powers. The case can be thrown out of court if the plaintiff drags their feet too much. If the Defendant does it, then the court can simply rule in favor of the Plaintiff for whatever they asked for in their complaint. Seasoned lawyers know to ask for the moon and the stars in the complaint on the off chance that kind of outcome ensues.
The Plaintiffs argue, the estate isn’t producing any discovery because of “the sex-trafficking conspiracy they are trying to keep secret,” Sigrid McCawley, attorney for accuser Juliette Bryant, asserts. She also accuses the defense of “attempting to game the process to maximize delay.” Those are the kind of words that make a judge’s blood boil.
The victims demanded any and all documents, recordings or digital evidence “relevant to their claims of Epstein’s alleged sexual abuse.” Things like, “photographs, video and audio recordings from his airplanes and homes, financial records and communications with his alleged co-conspirators, employees and government officials that span a period of nearly two decades.”
That’s absurd, defense lawyers counter. Handing all that over would be “unduly burdensome” because it would tend to connect them with Epstein’s crimes, and “overly broad” because it names a whole laundry list of famous world leaders and business moguls. They haven’t turned over any discovery at all because it probably is all incriminating. Just for an example, McCawley notes that her client is waiting for a letter which “included an excerpt of a flight log showing former President Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Chris Tucker on board Epstein’s Boeing 727.”
They have the records rounded up, they just don’t want to fork them over. “co-executors have now compiled a database of more than 730,000 documents.” McCawley believes the estate is dragging its feet, hoping their proposed restitution fund will be approved. As it stands now, signing up for that means dropping all charges against Ghislaine Maxwell and all of Epstein’s other co-conspirators. It would also include relasing estate lawyers Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn from any alleged wrongdoing.