SMR Maxwell
Documents unsealed in case against Ghislaine Maxwell (July 2020)
02:13 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

An account of events as told by Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged sex-trafficking accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell emerged for the first time Thursday from hundreds of pages of an unsealed deposition.

The redacted document, released after Maxwell lost an appeal this week to keep it from the public, paints a portrait of a fiercely loyal defender of Epstein – a man accused of operating a sex trafficking ring through which he allegedly sexually abused dozens of underage girls.

The deposition Maxwell’s legal team fought to keep sealed is connected to a 2015 defamation case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed Epstein sexually abused her while she was a minor and that Maxwell aided in the abuse. The civil case was settled in 2017.

In the deposition, the British socialite denies over and over knowing if Epstein had a scheme to recruit underage girls for sex.

“Have you ever been involved in any illegal activity in your lifetime?” Maxwell was asked at one point.

“I can’t think of anything I have done that is illegal,” she responded.

‘Jeffrey was very good to me when my father passed away’

In the transcript, Maxwell describes Epstein as a good friend she wanted to help after his controversial 2008 guilty plea to two state prostitution charges in Miami.

“I’m a very loyal person and Jeffrey was very good to me when my father passed away and I believe that you need to be a good friend in people’s hour of need and I felt that it was a very thoughtful, nice thing for me to do to help in very limited fashion which was helping if he had any issue with his homes, in terms of the staffing issues,” she said.

Maxwell, 58, was charged by federal prosecutors in early July for allegedly helping recruit, groom and ultimately sexually abuse minors as young as 14 as part of a yearslong criminal enterprise with Epstein. She pleaded not guilty and was ordered jailed pending trial. She also is charged with two counts of perjury.

Maxwell, in the more than 400 unsealed pages, claimed she never observed Epstein having sex with a minor nor did she recall any sex toys in Epstein’s Palm Beach home.

There were no underage girls on Epstein’s private island, she insisted. She claimed having no knowledge of any interstate or international transportation of women ages 18 to 28 for the purpose of prostitution.

“I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever,” she said, when asked if the massage therapists working at Epstein’s home performed sexual acts outside of intercourse or if he had intercourse with any of them. She said she had never seen anyone having intercourse with her boss.

British socialite calls Epstein accuser ‘an awful fantasist’

Maxwell was asked at one point about the first time she met Giuffre. She said she didn’t recall meeting her at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and denied walking Giuffre upstairs to meet Epstein for her first massage. Throughout her deposition, she repeatedly dismissed Giuffre’s allegations as lies and maintained that she was “not responsible for what Jeffrey does.”

“Virginia lied 100 percent about absolutely everything that took place in that first meeting,” Maxwell said of Giuffre. “She has lied repeatedly, often and is just an awful fantasist. So very difficult for anything to take place that she repeated because I was with her mother the entire time.”

Maxwell’s many denials included that she asked Giuffre to recruit females.

She said she had other responsibilities.

“I hire people across the board,” she testified. “So I would hire architects, decorators, pool people, exercise instructors, gardeners, cooks, chefs, cleaning people … In the course of a very long time when I would hire people, I hired people to work for Jeffrey. So I’m happy to testify to hiring people for every possible conceivable proper job that you could conceive of within the context of Jeffrey’s life and homes.”

She testified that she was paid less than $500,000 for her work.

Giuffre attorney: Unsealed deposition ‘only a small part of the total evidence’

An attorney for Giuffre hailed the release of this deposition, one of two Maxwell sat for in 2016.

“This is a long time coming and a welcome step towards revealing the evidence of the scope and scale of the Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking ring,” attorney David Boies said.

“The public should know today’s unsealing is only a small part of the total evidence. As the evidence comes out, it will be clear why Ms. Maxwell and others who enabled Jeffrey Epstein are fighting so hard to keep it concealed. As our client Virginia Giuffre bravely asserts, they did not act alone.”

Maxwell lost the legal battle to keep the document sealed Monday when the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied the effort of her attorneys to reverse the decision of a lower court that ordered the transcript to be made public.

“(T)he District Court correctly held that the deposition materials are judicial documents to which the presumption of public access attaches and did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Maxwell’s meritless arguments that her interests superseded the presumption of access,” the appellate court panel wrote.

In a ruling in July, US District Judge Loretta Preska said that the public’s right to have access to the information carried heavier weight than the “annoyance or embarrassment” to Maxwell.

“In the context of this case, especially its allegations of sex trafficking of young girls, the court finds any minor embarrassment or annoyance resulting from Ms. Maxwell’s mostly non-testimony … is far outweighed by the presumption of public access,” she said.

However, in that ruling Preska did say that some information will remain sealed. Several medical records included in the court filings will remain sealed, and the multiple anonymous women – “Jane Does” who accused Epstein of abuse but have not publicly spoken out – will continue to have their identities redacted in the documents, she said.

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ Maxwell says of alleged scheme

Parts of the deposition were unsealed last August, a day before Epstein killed himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial for allegedly running a sex-trafficking enterprise.

The charges against Maxwell, which came almost exactly a year after Epstein’s arrest, include the two counts of perjury for comments she made during her deposition in April and July 2016.

During the deposition, Maxwell denied having given anyone a massage, specifically denied having given Minor Victim-2 a massage and said, “I wasn’t aware that (Epstein) was having sexual activities with anyone when I was with him other than myself.”

Asked whether Epstein had a “scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages,” she replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Epstein, 66, was alone in a cell in the special housing unit of the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York when he was found dead in August 2019.

He was awaiting trial on federal charges accusing him of operating a sex trafficking ring from 2002 to 2005 at his Manhattan mansion in New York City and his Palm Beach, Florida, estate.

As part of the ring, he allegedly paid girls as young as 14 for sex. He’d pleaded not guilty to the charges.

CNN’s Kara Scannell, Lauren del Valle, Sonia Moghe, Erica Orden, Melanie Schuman and Brian Vitagliano contributed to this report.