Ghislaine Maxwell deposition unsealed after court ruling
A court document containing potentially sensitive information about Ghislaine Maxwell and her relationship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was unsealed on Thursday morning in New York just moments before a court-imposed deadline.
Roughly a dozen Maxwell files have been unsealed, with the first one on the docket covering Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre’s counsel alleging Maxwell dodged a question “about allegedly ‘adult’ sexual activity related to Jeffrey Epstein”.
She also tried to distance herself from and play down links between Epstein and former US president Bill Clinton, who had used the financier’s private plane.
In the 2015 deposition, Maxwell denied inviting under-18s to Epstein’s homes, except, she said, the children of friends in a social setting, but fudged on whether she “brought” Giuffre as a 17-year-old to Epstein’s home.
“Virginia Roberts [as her name was then] held herself out as a masseuse and invited herself to come and give a massage,” Maxwell said.
Under further questioning, she had added: “She was a masseuse and in the form and as my job, I was to have people who he wanted for various things including massage. She came as a masseuse.”
Maxwell claimed Giuffre’s mother drove her to the house and that the mother and Maxwell spoke outside when the teen was in the home.
“I did not take her upstairs,” Maxwell had said.
The unsealing of Maxwell’s deposition, which she had given during past civil litigation, came after an appeals panel ruled it could be released, and a lower court effectively decided that it should be released as soon as possible.
Maxwell’s lawyers had urged the US second circuit court of appeals panel of judges to overturn Manhattan federal court judge Loretta Preska’s July ruling to release the 418 pages of sworn testimony.
But the appeals judges decided on Monday that Preska rightly determined that the public had a right to access documents from legal proceedings and that transcripts should be released because arguments by Maxwell’s attorneys lacked merit.
In the civil case where this deposition originated, Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre maintained that Maxwell drew her into Epstein’s circle as a teen, under the false pretenses of providing work as a masseuse. Giuffre alleged that Maxwell and Epstein of pressured her to engage in sex with rich and powerful men, such as Britain’s Prince Andrew.
Giuffre’s 2015 civil action said that Maxwell defamed her in claiming she was a liar for alleging the pair participated in sexual impropriety. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has adamantly denied Giuffre’s claims.
Maxwell, who was arrested in July for alleged sexual crimes, conspiracy and perjury involving Epstein, argued in court papers that unsealing the deposition from this old civil case “will lead to a violation of [her] due process right to a fair trial by an impartial jury” in her criminal proceedings.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty in her criminal case. The Manhattan US attorney’s office used her deposition – which Maxwell believed was confidential – in its perjury accusation against her in the criminal case, claiming she lied under oath.
Maxwell, meanwhile, in her 2015 deposition unsealed on Thursday, denied that she and Bill Clinton – who is among the rich and powerful men who interacted with Epstein – were together on an island with the late sex offender.
In this portion of unsealed documents, Maxwell avoided giving specifics on Epstein and Clinton’s relationship.
“Again, Virginia is absolutely totally lying,” she said. “This is a subject of defamation about Virginia and the lies she has told and one of lies she told was that President Clinton was on the island where I was present. Absolutely 1,000% that is a flat-out total fabrication and lie.”
“You did fly on planes, Jeffrey Epstein’s planes with President Clinton, is that correct?” she was asked.
Maxwell was evasive.
“I have flown, yes.”
“Would it be fair to say that President Clinton and Jeffrey are friends?” Giuffre’s lawyers asked.
“I wouldn’t be able to characterize it like that, no,” Maxwell said.
“Are they acquaintances?”
“I wouldn’t categorize it,” she said.
“He just allowed him to use his plane?” the lawyer pressed.
“I couldn’t categorize Jeffrey’s relationship,” Maxwell said.
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