Prosecutors have disputed claims made by lawyers for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell that they are withholding names of women abused by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

They have defended their handling of charges brought last month against Maxwell, Epstein's former girlfriend, adding they are "deeply concerned" by the actions of her lawyers.

Maxwell, 58, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she recruited three girls, including one who was 14, and joined Epstein in the abuse in the 1990s.
Her lawyers said earlier this week in a letter to a judge they cannot properly investigate the charges against Maxwell because prosecutors will not tell them the identities of the three accusers.

Prosecutors told District Judge Alison J Nathan in a court filing that "To date, the defendant has yet to ask the government a single substantive question (about evidence).

"The government is also prepared to engage in good faith discussions with the defence about an appropriate schedule for disclosure."

Prosecutors said they are protecting the identities of sexual assault victims and are under no legal obligation to immediately identify them.

The government added it has already given defence lawyers over 165,000 pages of evidence, including search warrant applications and subpoena returns, even though the deadline to turn over the material was still a week away.

And they suggested defence lawyers could figure out the identities of the three accusers since the indictment lists relevant time periods and events and references Maxwell's conversations and interactions with victims, along with identifying where the alleged crimes occurred.