Federal prosecutors in New York are asking a judge to temporarily halt proceedings in a civil lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell that were filed by an alleged child sex-abuse victim of her and the late billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

ABC News reported that prosecutors want the civil lawsuit to be halted because they argue that there is a “significant risk” that proceeding with the case “would adversely affect the ongoing criminal prosecution against Maxwell.”

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Prosecutors from the Southern District of New York claimed in a letter to the judge that there is a “factual overlap between the civil and criminal cases” that could lead to the premature disclosure of evidence and testimony from witnesses who may be called upon in both cases.

“Such witnesses may be forced to testify about any efforts to assist the criminal investigation and prosecution, and may thereby expose facts about the investigation … and could potentially expose witnesses and/or their families to harassment,” the prosecutors wrote. “Moreover, permitting any discovery to proceed in this lawsuit would enable Maxwell to seek a preview of trial testimony in the criminal case, and would afford her with a broader array of discovery than she is entitled to in the criminal case.”

The civil lawsuit was filed back in January by a Jane Doe, who made claims that are starkly similar to those contained in the criminal indictment against Maxwell. The 58 year-old British socialite was arrested back in July for allegedly grooming three minor girls to be abused by Epstein between 1994 and 1997, and in some instances, participated in the abuse herself.

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Prosecutors refused to address claims made by Maxwell’s attorneys, who have speculated in court filings that Doe is one of the alleged victims identified in the criminal case. In advocating for a stay in this case, the U.S. government has surprisingly found itself aligned with Maxwell and the co-executors of Epstein’s estate, who have been trying to get the case put on hold for months.

“Absent a stay, Ms. Maxwell will be forced to choose between her constitutional right to remain silent and her active and vigorous participation in defending against and refuting [Doe’s] false claims in this case,” Laura Menninger, Maxwell’s lawyer, wrote in a letter to the court last week.

This piece originally appeared in UpliftingToday.com and is used by permission.

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