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Deposition of Ghislaine Maxwell, charged in Jeffrey Epstein case, is released

  • CHRIS ISON/PA VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, driven by Britain’s Prince Andrew, left the wedding of a former girlfriend of the prince, Aurelia Cecil, at the Parish Church of St Michael in Compton Chamberlayne near Salisbury, England, in Sept. 2000. For years, Ghislaine Maxwell has been a central but silent figure in a scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein’s long history of abusing teenage girls.

    CHRIS ISON/PA VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

    British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, driven by Britain’s Prince Andrew, left the wedding of a former girlfriend of the prince, Aurelia Cecil, at the Parish Church of St Michael in Compton Chamberlayne near Salisbury, England, in Sept. 2000. For years, Ghislaine Maxwell has been a central but silent figure in a scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein’s long history of abusing teenage girls.

For years, Ghislaine Maxwell has been a central but silent figure in a scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein’s long history of abusing teenage girls.

Today, however, Maxwell’s voice was heard for the first time as a four-year-old deposition was released containing her response to the swirl of claims surrounding Epstein: a series of evasions and denials.

Stubborn and elusive by turns, Maxwell, 58, rejected almost every allegation of wrongdoing in the 465-page document, denying that she helped Epstein recruit, groom and ultimately sexually mistreat dozens of teenage girls and young women.

At one point, she was asked 10 times in a row if she believed Epstein had abused any minors — and each time ducked the question.

She also denied that she herself had ever had any form of inappropriate sex.

“I just testified,” she said, “I never had nonconsensual sex with anybody ever, at any time, at any place, at any time, with anybody.”

Maxwell, Epstein’s former romantic partner, became the focus of a federal investigation into his sex-trafficking network after his suicide in jail last year. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have charged her with conspiring with Epstein, a financier, in his abuse of minors. As his closest associate, she is believed to have extensive information about him and others who might have been involved.

But her deposition left unanswered the question of whom that might be: Nearly all of the names contained within it — except her own and Epstein’s — were redacted.

Maxwell’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the deposition is rife with denials about various forms of sexual activity — including one involving a laundry basket of sex toys — Maxwell does explain that she performed several jobs for Epstein at his properties in New York and Florida. She said she was in charge of hiring his pool attendants, gardeners, chefs, butlers, housekeepers and chauffeurs. All of them, she added, were “age-appropriate adult people.”

The deposition also provides a glimpse into how Epstein financially supported Maxwell over the years. She said he lent her money to buy a town house and bought a car for her — though she acknowledged that she could not recall the make or model. She also said Epstein donated $50,000 to TerraMar, an ocean conservation charity she founded.

Maxwell further noted that Epstein liked to have at least one massage a day and that more than one masseuse would be on call to perform them. But she refused to answer questions about whether the word “massage” was a code word for sex, saying only that they involved “private adult sexual relationships.”

Maxwell, the daughter of a publishing magnate and a onetime fixture in New York’s social scene, had fought for months to bar the release of the deposition as well as a second one — both of which emerged from a 2015 civil case brought by Virginia Giuffre, one of her and Epstein’s accusers.

Although she had argued that the documents contained sensitive personal information, a federal appeals court in Manhattan upheld on Monday a lower court’s decision that one of them could be made public. After a flurry of motions by her lawyers, the deposition was released today.

Giuffre has accused Maxwell in a defamation lawsuit of recruiting her as a teenager to become a victim in Epstein’s sex-trafficking scheme. She claims that she met Maxwell, when she was 17, at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida, where Epstein also kept a home.

Trump’s name does not appear to be in the deposition, though it is hard to tell if he was mentioned or not because of the heavy redactions.

In a statement issued today, Giuffre’s lawyers, David Boies and Sigrid McCawley, hailed the release of Maxwell’s deposition, calling it “a small part of the total evidence.”

“As the evidence comes out,” the lawyers said, “it will be clear why Ms. Maxwell and others who enabled Jeffrey Epstein are fighting so hard to keep it concealed.”

When Maxwell was arrested July 2, prosecutors said that from 1994 to 1997, she contributed to the abuse of multiple teenage girls by Epstein — one as young as 14 — and in some cases participated in the abuse. She also was charged with lying under oath in her depositions, which were taken in 2016. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Her arrest came almost exactly one year after Epstein himself was taken into custody and charged in New York with sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of girls and young women at his mansion in Manhattan, his estate in Palm Beach and other locations. He died in jail of apparent suicide in August 2019 while his criminal case was still being prosecuted.

Maxwell’s long association with Epstein has now led to both criminal charges and a lawsuit being filed against her, but at the time of her deposition, she admitted she was loyal to him.

“Why did you continue to maintain contact with Jeffrey Epstein after he pled guilty?” McCawley asked her.

“I believe that you need to be a good friend in people’s hour of need,” Maxwell said, “and I felt that it was a very thoughtful, nice thing for me to do to help in very limited fashion.”

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