US judge orders names of more than 170 Jeffrey Epstein associates to be released

U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photograph taken for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services' sex offender registry March 28, 2017

The names of more than 170 associates of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein could be made public next month after a ruling from a US judge.

Prince Andrew is expected to be among them, if evidence is released from a woman who claims he groped her in 2001.

The identities are being revealed under a settled lawsuit against sex trafficker and Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell.

Anyone on the list has until 1 January to appeal to have their name removed.

Epstein, a millionaire financier known to mix with high-profile figures like Prince Andrew, died in jail in 2019.

His death, as he awaited federal sex-trafficking charges, was ruled to be a suicide by the New York medical examiner.

The 51-page ruling issued on Monday by New York Judge Loretta Preska calls for Epstein’s connections to be “unsealed in full”.

It is the latest filing in the case brought by Virginia Giuffre against Maxwell, a former British socialite who is serving a 20-year prison term for the crimes she committed with Epstein.

Ms Giuffre’s defamation lawsuit was brought in 2015 and settled in 2017, leaving the names of scores of Epstein associates under a court-ordered seal.

They include 40 documents of evidence from Johanna Sjoberg, who has claimed Prince Andrew groped her breast while sitting on a couch inside Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

Buckingham Palace has previously said the allegations are “categorically untrue”.

Last year, the Duke of York paid millions to Ms Giuffre to settle a lawsuit she filed claiming that he sexually abused her when she was 17 years old.

Prince Andrew said he had never met Ms Giuffre and denied her allegations.

In her ruling, Judge Preska noted that many of the individuals named in the lawsuit have already been publicly identified by the media or in Maxwell’s criminal trial.

She added that many others “did not raise an objection” to the release of the documents.

Some of the names on the list will remain sealed, including those belonging to child victims, the judge said in her ruling.

US congressional Republicans are pushing to subpoena the flight logs for Epstein’s private plane.

Convicted in 2008 for soliciting prostitution from a minor, Epstein had moved in social circles that included key figures in the world of business and politics.

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