New Unsealed Documents Reveal More Details About Ghislaine Maxwell Case
A federal judge released deposition transcripts and other documents related to a defamation suit previously brought against Maxwell, who has been accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein run a sex trafficking operation.
The latest developments in the legal case against Ghislaine Maxwell involve a new trove of documents unsealed by a federal judge that relate to a defamation suit against her that was settled in 2017. The documents include a transcript of a deposition given by Virginia Roberts Giuffre as well as email exchanges between Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide last year after being arrested for sex trafficking of minors.
Maxwell was arrested earlier this month and charged with transporting a minor for the purposes of criminal sexual activity and enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, among other things. On July 14, she pleaded not guilty to the charges and was denied bail; she is currently awaiting trial in Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center.
Giuffre, who has accused both Epstein and Maxwell of abuse, sued Maxwell in 2015 for defamation after Maxwell claimed she was lying about the alleged abuse. In Giuffre's 2016 deposition for that case, which the judge unsealed this week, Giuffre said that Epstein and Maxwell used the code word "massage" when they wanted her to have sex with one of their associates. She also provided a list of men that Maxwell and Epstein ordered her to have sex with, and said that she witnessed Maxwell raping girls Giuffre believed were as young as 15.
Emails exchanged between Epstein and Maxwell in January 2015 have been unsealed. In one, Epstein wrote, “You have done nothing wrong and I urge you to start acting like it.” He told her to go outside and hold her "head high," and not act like a fugitive of the law.
On Friday, the judge presiding over the case ruled that Maxwell's attorneys cannot identify accusers while they attempt to fight the charges, even if the accusers have told their stories publicly in the past. “Not all accusations or public statements are equal,” U.S. District Court Judge Alison J. Nathan wrote in her ruling. “Deciding to participate in or contribute to a criminal investigation or prosecution is a far different matter than simply making a public statement ‘relating to’ Ms. Maxwell or Jeffrey Epstein, particularly since such a statement might have occurred decades ago and have no relevance to the charges in this case.” The judge added that these young women “still maintain a significant privacy interest that must be safeguarded.”
Maxwell’s lawyers were forbidden from revealing the identities of the women making the abuse claims to avoid the possibility of them being harassed or intimidated, which could impact their willingness to cooperate in the legal proceedings. Some of the documents released this week had previously been opened; others, including the email exchanges have been unsealed for the first time. Judge Loretta Preska, who ordered the documents unsealed, did not seem pleased by Maxwell's lawyers' attempts to block the release of the documents. "The Court is troubled — but not surprised — that Ms. Maxwell has yet again sought to muddy the water as the clock clicks closer to midnight," she wrote.