January 5, 2022

Despite the fact that Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial was conducted in public and open to the media, and Maxwell was convicted on federal sex trafficking charges, false claims persist that a coverup is afoot.

In one viral Facebook video, conservative commentator David J. Harris Jr. referred to the judge in the Maxwell case and asked, “Why in the world would they seal all the evidence and proof of who helped Ghislaine Maxwell sex traffic children?”

The caption on the video says, “Can the world say…. ‘Cover up!’”

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The judge in the Maxwell case, Alison J. Nathan, did not order all of the evidence and proof sealed. Most of the evidence introduced at the trial has already been published by media outlets and is publicly available, including information about Jeffrey Epstein — whom Maxwell helped to sexually abuse minors over several years beginning in the 1990s — and other high-profile people.

Nathan did restrict the public release of one item, Maxwell’s address book, saying only certain pages could be used as evidence.

Maxwell’s trial in federal court ended Dec. 29, when she was convicted by a jury on five sex trafficking charges related to grooming underage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein.

Evidence that was introduced at trial and widely reported by media included a flight log from Epstein’s private airplane, which showed the names of passengers such as former U.S. presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton; Maxwell’s bank records; and photos that established a longstanding relationship between her and Epstein.

Nathan also allowed the use of depositions from previous civil cases against Maxwell, and other judges released sealed records from previous lawsuits against Maxwell.

“Troves of additional materials detailing what went on at homes where Maxwell and Epstein resided have been unsealed in the last two years after federal appeals judges and a Manhattan judge agreed that once-sealed records in a civil case against Maxwell should be released publicly,” the Associated Press reported.

Similar false claims about sealing the evidence also were posted on social media by Jack Posobiec and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

Our ruling

A Facebook video says the judge in the Maxwell trial sealed “all the evidence and proof of who helped Ghislaine Maxwell sex traffic children.”

The judge did not order all of the evidence and proof sealed, and most of it was published by media outlets during the trial, including information about Epstein and other high-profile people.

We rate this claim False.

This article was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for these fact checks here and more of their fact checks here.

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Monique Curet is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. She has worked as a reporter covering business, agribusiness, medicine and police at The Columbus Dispatch and…
Monique Curet

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