“Jane Doe 43″ has formally identified herself as Sarah Ransome in a sexual trafficking lawsuit that her lawyers at Boies Schiller Flexner are pursuing against former Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
In a notice to change the case caption filed Friday in Manhattan federal court, Ransome’s attorneys said she “no longer intends to proceed by way of pseudonym” in the case, which claims the financier forced her to have sex for money.
Defense lawyers for Epstein had argued Ransome must litigate under her own name after she wrote a Nov. 15 letter to The New York Times, which the Times published, defending Boies Schiller and firm chairman David Boies against criticism stemming from Boies’ work for Harvey Weinstein.
Ransome identified herself as Jane Doe 43 in the Times letter, which said Boies “heard me and came to my rescue” when others refused to take her allegations against Epstein seriously. “For the first time in 10 years I finally feel safe because of David Boies and his colleagues,” wrote Ransome, who also said the firm did not charge her legal fees.
The letter was prompted by a Nov. 9 Times op-ed by Stanford University law professor Deborah Rhode, titled “David Boies’s Egregious Involvement With Harvey Weinstein.” Written in the wake of revelations in The New Yorker that Boies had engaged private investigators to kill an investigation by Times reporters into Weinstein’s alleged sexual predations, the op-ed suggested Boies’ work for Weinstein was unethical, partly because the Times’ was a Boies Schiller client.
Two days earlier on Nov. 7, following publication of The New Yorker article, Boies issued a statement addressed to his firm, stating Weinstein was no longer a client and stressing he “would never knowingly participate in an effort to intimidate or silence women or anyone else.”
In a Nov. 21 brief in the Epstein litigation, defense lawyer Michael Miller of Steptoe & Johnson argued Ransome had never satisfied requirements to file anonymously and had publicly identified herself with her letter to the Times so she should be required to add her name to the case caption.
Sigrid McCawley, a Boies Schiller partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office who represents Ransome along with Boies and others, said her client ultimately chose to go public with her name “in the hopes that her courage will inspire other Epstein victims to speak their truth.”
In 2008, Epstein entered a guilty plea to state charges in West Palm Beach of soliciting an underage prostitute, which led to an 18-month jail term and placement on the national sex offender registry.
Epstein paid millions of dollars in restitution to as many as 40 victims who were between the ages of 13 and 17 when the crimes occurred.
He also reached a secret nonprosecution agreement with federal prosecutors, which victims criticized as a “sweetheart deal” that left them with no opportunity to object to the agreement and triggered a victims’ right lawsuit.
Multiple plaintiffs have filed civil complaints against Epstein, including one listing allegations that President Donald Trump’s winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, was the location of events that led to sex trafficking.
Epstein has argued the New York court should dismiss the case because Ransome failed to state a substantiated claim and because the claims she makes are barred by the statute of limitations.
Steptoe’s Miller had no immediate comment for this report.