Latest document drop: How will it affect Ghislaine Maxwell’s case?
It may have taken a few months, but we finally have the over 400-page deposition Ghislaine Maxwell tried so hard to conceal. After being approved by both a judge & a circuit court of appeals, Maxwell’s April 2016 deposition conducted for a lawsuit from Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of the most outspoken survivors who maintains she was groomed by Ghislaine Maxwell & sex trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell, who’s been in jail since July 2020, has faced plenty of scrutiny for her relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender who was arrested in 2019 for sex trafficking. Maxwell’s upcoming trial will be a major step forward for the survivors in getting closure, but this document, made available to the public, shows a glimpse of the woman allegedly behind Epstein’s schemes.
It was a day-long deposition, starting at 9:04 a.m. and finally ending at 6:43 p.m. It even got heated at one point, as the record states Maxwell started pounding on the table. So settle in, folks. Here’s a breakdown of what had to happen in order to obtain the deposition, and some of the key takeaways from this lengthy document.
Details on the deposition
Maxwell’s deposition was taken during a lawsuit from Jeffrey Epstein survivor Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who sued Maxwell in 2015. Giuffre alleged Maxwell recruited her in 1999 when she was a minor and groomed her to be sex trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein. The lawsuit was eventually settled in May 2017 for an undisclosed amount, but the Miami Herald reported the suit was ruled in Giuffre’s favor and she received millions.
Maxwell was arrested in July 2020 after staying in hiding for months. She was found at a New Hampshire estate and charged with enticement & sex trafficking of minors and perjury. Prosecutors thought the April 2016 deposition, which had been sealed for years, would be crucial information for their case and filed for a motion to unseal the record.
Maxwell’s charge of perjury is particularly dependent on this deposition, as the accusation refers to depositions she made in April & July 2016, according to CNN. After a legal back-and-forth with Maxwell’s lawyers, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan made the final decision to release the document on October 19th. The 418-page document was officially made available to the public on October 22nd.
Why was the deposition sealed?
Shortly after her arrest, a U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled to unseal the documents from the 2015 case because “it was the public’s right”, according to CNN. However, Maxwell & her lawyers tried to block the order, wishing to keep the deposition a secret. Giuffre herself, who originally went by “Jane Doe 3” in the 2015 suit, has pushed to release the document since March 2019, according to the Miami Herald.
Maxwell, however, tried particularly hard to keep the records sealed. According to Reuters, Maxwell’s attorneys argued the deposition would be “bad publicity” for Maxwell because the document would reveal “intimate, sensitive, and personal details”, which, they argue, could “undermine her ability to defend against criminal charges”.
Maxwell’s lawyers also argued the deposition would end up violating her right against self-incrimination, according to Reuters, while also marring the trial, since jurors could “hold its contents against her”. Nevertheless, the Circuit Court of Appeals felt Judge Preska didn’t over-extend her power and ruled in favor of releasing them despite the defense’s “meritless arguments”, according to Reuters.
Refusal to answer questions
One of the most striking elements of the deposition is how many times Maxwell refuses to answer questions. When she responds to the first question, “When did you first recruit a female to work for Mr. Epstein?”, she says, “I don’t understand what you mean by female, I don’t understand what you mean by recruit.”. This type of back-and-forth is not uncommon throughout the deposition.
Maxwell continued to say she didn’t know about any sexual relations between Epstein & Giuffre, saying she “never saw them in a sexual situation”. Maxwell also repeatedly said Giuffre is a “liar” and claims she “barely would remember her, if not for all of this rubbish”. Maxwell frequently says she doesn’t “remember” or “recall” numerous events, which she claims is because these events occurred more than fifteen years prior.
When discussing Epstein’s flight logs, Maxwell also testified she didn’t know what “GM” was meant to signify. While Giuffre’s lawyers implied “GM” was her initials, Maxwell said, “GM can stand for any level, it could be Georgina, George”, and, “you cannot be sure that’s me.” She later said it would be “impossible” to count how many times she flew with Epstein on his plane, only that she would fly “regularly” with Epstein.
Maxwell on underage girls
Another trend throughout the deposition was her refusal to testify about anything regarding underage girls. If Giuffre’s lawyer ever mentioned minors in the question, Maxwell would dodge the question. At one point, Maxwell said she “never recruited girls”.
When asked about the infamous Little St. James island, Maxwell claims, “There were no girls on the island at all. No girls, no women, other than the staff who work at the house”.
There was one significant conversation when Giuffre’s counsel asked if Maxwell believed Epstein sexually abused minors, specifically citing his conviction for procuring a minor for prostitution. She didn’t answer the lawyer’s specific question and instead incessantly brought up Giuffre’s name as an excuse to not answer the question with a yes or no.
Redactions in the deposition
There are also plenty of redactions throughout the document. While some are to protect the minors who allege to be sexually abused by Epstein, there are full pages that were redacted, providing no context as to what Maxwell & the present lawyers were discussing.
One of the more significant instances of redactions was when Giuffre’s lawyer asked Maxwell about whether she introduced certain people to Epstein. Names were a major cause of redacting, as there were also redactions present when they discussed flight logs, a puppet,
Slate was able to find many of the redacted names by looking at the document’s index. They’ve found many of Epstein’s acquaintances including, but not limited to: Alan Dershowitz, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Jean Luc Brunel, and Leslie Wexner. Slate’s report also included alleged Epstein accomplices, including Sarah Kellen & Epstein’s pilot, Nadia Marcinko.
According to Slate, one suspicious conversation was when Maxwell answered the question, “So did Prince Andrew tell you that he did not have sex with Virginia Roberts [Giuffre]?”, she said, “He doesn’t even know who Virginia Roberts is”. However, with the circulating photo showing Prince Andrew with his arm around Giuffre, this statement appears misleading, especially since Maxwell is seen in the photo as well.
Did Maxwell incriminate herself?
The main takeaway from this document, perhaps, is Maxwell’s denial of most of the events brought up by Giuffre’s lawyer. While Maxwell’s trial won’t take place until July 2021, should the prosecution build a case with plenty of evidence, the deposition could be detrimental to her case, especially regarding the perjury charge.
Maxwell also reinforced her loyalty & support for Epstein, even after his conviction & sex offender registration, saying “I’m a very loyal person … 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”.
Internet sleuths are already examining the deposition, especially on Reddit, where threads of notes have already been made, outlining the most significant parts of the document. Slate’s report is also significant, especially since it uncovers and gives context to many redacted portions of the document.