Ghislaine Maxwell denied recruiting girls for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in newly unsealed testimony
Under fierce questioning by lawyers for an accuser, Ghislaine Maxwell repeatedly denied during a 2016 deposition that she recruited girls for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to a transcript of the proceeding made public Thursday.Updated: Oct 23, 2020, 00:23 IST
Under fierce questioning by lawyers for an accuser, Ghislaine Maxwell repeatedly denied during a 2016 deposition that she recruited girls for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to a transcript of the proceeding made public Thursday.
Maxwell rejected claims that she recruited a woman to carry Epstein’s child, that she brought girls to Epstein’s home to give him massages or that she’d threatened others if they made Epstein’s secrets public. Through hundreds of pages of testimony, Maxwell pushed back against questioning by an opposing lawyer or simply wouldn’t answer questions.
“Have you ever observed Mr. Epstein having a massage given by an individual, a female, who was under the age of 18?” Maxwell was asked in the deposition.
“No,” Maxwell answered.
“I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever,” she added.
Though the deposition includes several pages of questions about men that Epstein knew and whether they were introduced to underage girls, the names have been redacted.
The British socialite is being held in a Brooklyn, New York, lockup while she awaits trial next year on charges she trafficked girls as young as 14 for her former boyfriend to abuse. The U.S. also says she participated in some of the alleged assaults and lied during portions of her sworn testimony in depositions. She has denied wrongdoing.
The testimony released on Thursday came from a separate defamation lawsuit filed against Maxwell by one of her accusers, Virginia Giuffre. Over Maxwell’s strenuous objections, a federal judge in Manhattan this year ordered documents in that case to be made public, and an appeals court agreed on Monday.
The transcripts from 2016 are the only substantive public record from Maxwell about what she said she did for Epstein, her onetime boyfriend and employer.
Giuffre claimed in the lawsuit that Maxwell and Epstein made her a sex slave for the money manager when she was 16. Giuffre sued Maxwell in 2015 for calling her account “obvious lies.” The case was later settled for an undisclosed amount.
“Just for the record, I have never at any time, at any place, in any moment, ever asked Virginia Roberts or whatever she is called now to have sex with anybody,” Maxwell testified in the deposition, citing Guiffre’s maiden name.
The deposition occurred on April 22, 2016, and it’s likely that prosecutors will seek to present the testimony to jurors in Maxwell’s criminal trial. In the criminal case, prosecutors claim Maxwell lied nine times in the deposition when she denied knowledge of Epstein’s activities, including his recruitment of girls and his interactions with them at his properties.
Parts of the deposition offer detail into Epstein’s lifestyle.
“Sometimes people in the privacy of a house and swimming pool, I have seen people from time to time take their top off,” Maxwell testified. “I have seen people from time to time do that. Very unusual. Naked people around the people at any frequent period of time, I have never seen.”
Repeatedly, though, Maxwell called Giuffre’s claims “lies” and “stories” and denied many of her accuser’s allegations.
Maxwell frequently challenged her questioner, including asking at one point, “Would you like to ask the question properly?” and responding to one query, “Moving on.” That prompted the lawyer questioning her to remind her that she wasn’t in charge of the proceeding.
At one point, she told the questioner: “You don’t ask me questions like that. First of all, you are trying to trap me, I will not be trapped.”
At another point, she said, “Perhaps you are not really familiar with what massage is.” The questioner responded, “I am, I don’t need a lecture on massage.”
“I think you do,” she said.
Maxwell, when asked if she sought any female to carry Epstein’s baby for him, said that’s “completely rubbish.”
“I never asked anybody to carry a baby for me,” she said, adding that she didn’t “recall any baby conversations with Jeffrey.”
She admitted that Epstein bought her a car and loaned her money to buy a townhouse, but said she didn’t remember details of other gifts. She said he was not paying her legal fees. The two met in 1991, she said.
Maxwell was questioned about a Jan. 12, 2015, email from Epstein in which he suggested she offer “rewards” to Giuffre’s friends and family to contradict her story. “Absolutely not,” Maxwell responded when asked if she ever offered such a reward. She said she had “no idea” if Epstein ever offered a reward.
“I was not coordinating with Jeffrey,” she said when asked if she was working with Epstein to malign Giuffre.
Asked if she was a citizen of “any other land” besides the U.S. and U.K., Maxwell answered “TerraMar,” which a lawyer then said was a charity project that dealt with oceans.
After the deposition, Giuffre’s lawyers wrote to the court saying that Maxwell had been so evasive that they needed to question her again. Noting that Maxwell claimed any sexual interactions were with adults, they asked that she be ordered to answer their questions once again.
Portions of Maxwell’s depositions and other material tied to Epstein were made public in August 2019. A day later, Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell where he was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges involving girls and women. Authorities later said he hanged himself.