Transcripts from Ghislaine Maxwell’s 2016 deposition, released Thursday morning pursuant to a court order issued Tuesday, show Maxwell as a “fiercely loyal defender” of her former boyfriend, convicted sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, CNN reports.
The 400 pages of testimony were taken as part of a 2015 civil defamation case against Epstein, brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged victims. The judge in Maxwell’s ongoing criminal case — she is alleged to have aided Epstein in running a global sex trafficking network, even going so far as to recruit and “groom” women to staff a sex ring — ordered the testimony unsealed on Tuesday, calling it central to the case against the British socialite.
The transcripts reveal little about Maxwell’s role in Epstein’s operation — if any — but do paint her as a close personal friend and associate of Epstein’s, who says she reached out to help the billionaire in 2008 after he inked a plea deal with New York prosecutors over his alleged sexual abuse. At the time, CNN notes, Epstein was allowed to avoid prosecution on sex trafficking charges by pleading guilty to two state prostitution charges.
“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,” Maxwell told the panel in 2016.
More importantly, in the 2016 deposition, Maxwell denies having a connection to Prince Andrew, who, according to reports, remains a central figure in a federal investigation into Epstein’s sex trafficking operation and is alleged to have participated in Epstein’s sex romps.
She also denies recruiting women for Epstein’s sex trafficking ring, though she did admit, initially, that she did much of the hiring and firing for Epstein’s household — and that included hiring “massage therapists.” Notably, Giuffre says she was initially hired as a massage therapist but alleges that Maxwell “provided instruction on how to do it and how to turn the massage into a sexual event.”
“As I sit here, I hired assistants, I hired architects, I hired decorators, I hired cooks, I hired cleaners, I hired gardeners … I hired all sorts of people,” Maxwell told attorneys. “In the course and a very small part of my job was from from (sic) time to time to find adult professional massage therapists for Jeffrey.”
Maxwell denied recruiting women under the age of 18. She later, Fox News notes, contradicted her own statement, claiming that Epstein alone hired and fired members of his household staff. She also refused to answer questions about “what the alleged ‘massage therapists’ were doing at Jeffrey Epstein’s house and the sexual nature of those massages.”
Instead, Maxwell called Giuffre “just an awful fantasist.”
Further revelations — and documents — are expected, and the trove released on Thursday includes a motion from Guiffre’s lawyers asking the judge to compel a second question and answer session with Maxwell because Maxwell “refused to answer numerous questions about allegedly ‘adult’ sexual activity related to Jeffrey Epstein. Because this activity is highly relevant to this case, Defendant should be ordered to answer questions about it.”
There is also a motion from Guiffre’s lawyers included that points out a potential lie in Maxwell’s responses.
“[A]ccording to flight logs, Defendant was on Epstein’s planes over 200 times – including 23 times with Ms. Giuffre when Ms. Giuffre was underage. Yet, quite remarkably, Defendant claimed she ‘couldn’t recall’ even one of those flights,” Giuffre’s attorneys wrote to the court. “Defendant’s deposition consisted almost entirely of ‘I don’t recalls’ or ‘I refuse to answer that question’ and also included a physical outburst that knocked the court reporter’s computer off the conference room table.”