Epstein was arrested last year on federal sex trafficking charges for alleged abuses of underage girls in New York and Florida, but he died by suicide in a Manhattan federal detention center before he could stand trial. Maxwell, who remains in custody pending a trial scheduled for next year, has denied wrongdoing.
The newly unsealed documents stem from a defamation suit that Maxwell settled for an undisclosed sum in 2017 with one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, who has alleged that she was forced to have sex with Epstein and his friends.
Giuffre has claimed that Maxwell recruited her to serve as a traveling masseuse for Epstein after spotting her working a summer job as a locker room attendant 20 years ago at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s private estate in Palm Beach, Fla. She has also alleged that Maxwell joined Epstein and her for sex while she was still a teen.
Despite the tooth-and-nail legal battle to keep the documents from public view, they contained no new major revelations about the Epstein matter.
However, they revealed Maxwell to have been a combative and loyal defender of Epstein, insistent at every turn that she was aware of no misdeeds by him and refusing to concede even basic information about their interactions.
The testimony took place eight years after Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to hiring an underage prostitute and served more than a year in a Palm Beach jail. At the time of the 2016 deposition, Giuffre’s lawyer noted to Maxwell that over 30 underage accusers had given accounts of sexual contact with Epstein to the police.
Maxwell testified that she “never observed” Epstein have sex with a minor and was aware of no women who visited Epstein to give him massages who were under the age of 17, which she testified is the age required to perform massages under Florida law. She testified she believed documents showed that Giuffre was 17 at the time of her first encounter with Epstein, but she knew of no women who performed massages who were only 17 other than her.
“I’m not responsible for what Jeffrey does and I don’t always pay attention to what happens in the house. I’m very busy,” she testified at one point.
Asked if she ever “participated” in sex with Giuffre and Epstein, Maxwell said she “never ever at any single time at any point ever at all participated in anything with Virginia and Jeffrey,” adding that Giuffre was a “an absolute total liar” and her claims “rubbish.”
A wealthy socialite whose high-powered friends have included Trump, Maxwell is the daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell.
During the 1990s, Maxwell and Epstein were romantically involved, according to court documents. She also was responsible for managing Epstein’s various households — including his Florida home. Epstein’s lawyers have told a Florida court that their romantic relationship ended amicably in 2000 but they remained friends.
At one point in the deposition, Maxwell tried to explain why she stayed loyal to Epstein even after his 2008 guilty plea.
“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,” she said. “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. It was very, very minor but I felt it was thoughtful in somebody’s hour of need.”
Lawyers for Maxwell did not respond to a request for comment.
David Boies, an attorney for Giuffre, in a statement called the unsealing of the documents “a long-time coming and a welcome step towards revealing the evidence of the scope and scale of the Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking ring.”
“The public should know today’s unsealing is only a small part of the total evidence. As the evidence comes out, it will be clear why Ms. Maxwell and others who enabled Jeffrey Epstein are fighting so hard to keep it concealed. As our client Virginia Giuffre bravely asserts, they did not act alone,” he said.
Maxwell has been charged with recruiting and grooming underage girls for Epstein, starting in at least 1997. Prosecutors could use Maxwell’s deposition at trial to try to impeach her credibility. They have also charged her with lying under oath during the 2016 session, indicating that she “repeatedly provided false and perjurious statements.”
In court documents that previously have been made public, Giuffre accused Epstein of requiring her to have sex with various wealthy friends, including defense attorney Alan Dershowitz and Britain’s Prince Andrew. Both have vigorously and repeatedly denied her claims.
While the names of other men are redacted in the deposition transcript, Maxwell was asked about an incident that Giuffre alleged took place at Maxwell’s London townhouse in 2001. Those details match allegations Giuffre has made against Prince Andrew, a onetime Maxwell friend, whom Giuffre has said sexually abused her at the home.
Giuffre has released a photograph that appears to show her and Andrew standing side-by-side, with his hand draped around her and resting on her bare midriff. Maxwell testified that she was unsure the photo was authentic but conceded that certain items visible in the image can be found in her London home.
She said, however, that “the entire characterization of what took place in my house in London would have been impossible.”
And about any conversation she has had with the man involved with the London incident, Maxwell responded, “He doesn’t even know who Virginia Roberts is. . . . It would be difficult to have sex with someone you don’t know.”
Roberts is Giuffre’s maiden name.
Likewise, Maxwell denied a claim from Giuffre that she had spotted former president Bill Clinton on Epstein’s infamous private island in the Caribbean, where multiple accusers have alleged abuse took place. In court documents, Giuffre has said she observed no inappropriate behavior by the former president.
Even so, Maxwell said it was a “flat out total fabrication and lie” to suggest Clinton had visited the island. Last year, a spokesman for Clinton said that, while the former president was acquainted with Epstein and had traveled on his plane, he never visited Epstein’s island and knew nothing about his criminal behavior.
Maxwell refused to answer questions regarding what she termed “consensual” sexual activity with adults. Asked about recruiting girls to have sex with Epstein, she responded angrily. “You don’t ask me questions like that. First of all, you are trying to trap me, I will not be trapped,” she said.
She said she found the use of the word “recruit” to describe her locating and hiring of masseuses “repulsive,” insisting her work for Epstein was no different than her efforts to secure gardeners, pool attendants and chauffeurs. Multiple Epstein accusers have alleged they were recruited by Maxwell.
At times, Maxwell became angry, at one point banging her hand against the table so forcefully that it knocked the court reporter’s computer off the table.
Other times in the deposition, she appeared purposely evasive. She repeatedly refused to answer clearly whether she had received loans or other gifts from Epstein.
Finally, Giuffre’s exasperated lawyer asked, “You can’t recall if Jeffrey Epstein ever bought you a car?” Maxwell then conceded: “I believe he did buy me a car.”
Maxwell refused to answer so many questions during the April 2016 deposition that Giuffre’s lawyers secured an order from a judge requiring her to sit for additional testimony.
The transcript from that session, which took place in July 2016, remains under seal.
Jacobs reported from New York.