This week the focus has turned to the British socialite and ex-girlfriend of Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, who is facing new allegations that she recruited and trafficked underage girls for the disgraced US financier who died by apparent suicide in August.
Maxwell has previously denied all allegations against her, but she remains in the spotlight as other women -- including Jennifer Araoz, who says Epstein sexually assaulted and raped her -- have accused Maxwell of being Epstein's "madam" and of conspiring to maintain and conceal a sex trafficking ring.
In a 2015 defamation case brought against Maxwell -- which was settled in 2017, after the judge had ruled against a motion for summary judgment filed by Maxwell -- Giuffre says she was "forced to have sexual relations" with the Duke of York when she was a minor in "three separate geographical locations," including London, New York and the US Virgin Islands.
B. My saying “If you don’t pay me $X, I’ll tell people about your sexual indiscretions” is generally clearly blackmail.
But what if I tell you “I’m about to sue you for a certain behavior, unless you pay me $X to settle the claim,” and it’s clear that if I do sue you, your sexual indiscretions will come out, either because they’re the basis of the suit or because they are somehow relevant to it and will emerge in discovery?
Some jurisdictions have enacted this largely verbatim, and others (such as the Jackson court) are likely to apply some similar rules in elaborating on the definition of blackmail, precisely so that “give me back that property you took from me, or I’ll call the police” doesn’t become a crime.