(Las Vegas) July 03, 2019 — First Amendment attorneys Marc Randazza and Jay Wolman of Randazza Legal Group prevailed in a Federal appeal to obtain sealed court documents regarding the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.
Randazza Legal Group was retained by Michael Cernovich of Cernovich Media after he discovered that Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend, filed her entire summary judgment motion under seal. Randazza Legal Group intervened and appeared for Mr. Cernovich in the District Court, but the request to unseal those summary judgment documents was denied. Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, at Mr. Randazza’s urging, overturned that order and directed that the summary judgment materials be unsealed.
In the underlying case, Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, sued Maxwell for defamation for denying involvement with Epstein’s abuse. The District Court abandoned its responsibilities, permitting both sides to file documents under seal at will. Because summary judgment asks the court to decide who wins and who loses, they are known as “judicial documents” and are presumptively public under the First Amendment. This is why Cernovich and Randazza sprang into action.
Today’s decision reaffirms that presumption and safeguard’s the public’s right to access and oversight of the courts.
“We are delighted that the Second Circuit reaffirmed this long standing right,” Randazza said. “The courts cannot be fair if they are not open for the public to review what led to the court’s decision. The courts belong to the people – and both the common law and the First Amendment demand that the court proceedings take place in the sunshine, not in the secret caverns of a star chamber.”
Cernovich was joined in the appeal by Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz, Epstein’s former lawyer and a witness in the case, who attempted to unseal some of the other records, and the Miami Herald, which belatedly sought to unseal the entire record. The Second Circuit’s decision is a complete victory for Cernovich and Randazza Legal Group, and a partial victory for Dershowitz and the Herald, who must now return to the district court for further argument as to unsealing other documents. Jay Wolman of Randazza Legal Group represented Mr. Cernovich in the District Court and joined Marc Randazza on the appeal.