NEW YORK - Transcripts released Thursday show financier Jeffrey Epstein's ex-girlfriend was combative and defensive under tough questioning four years ago about her ex-boyfriend’s interactions with underage girls.
In the transcripts, Ghislaine Maxwell repeatedly denied hiring anyone under the age of 18 for Epstein.
“I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever,” she said.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan had ruled Monday that Preska properly decided that the public had a right to access documents from legal proceedings and that transcripts should be unsealed because arguments by Maxwell's lawyers were meritless.
The depositions were taken as part of a lawsuit brought against Maxwell by Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Giuffre had accused Maxwell of aiding Epstein in the abuse of Giuffre before she was an adult. The lawsuit was eventually settled.
Lawyers for Maxwell, 58, had argued that the documents reflecting seven hours of interviews over two days should remain sealed, in part to protect her right to a fair trial in July on charges that she helped Epstein traffic and sexually abuse teenage girls in the 1990s.
Manhattan U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska had ordered the transcripts of seven hours of depositions of Maxwell released by 9 a.m. Thursday.
Preska allowed release of the transcripts after rejecting arguments from Maxwell’s lawyers that the interviews for a defamation lawsuit brought against Maxwell by an Epstein victim several years ago would jeopardize a fair criminal trial for her next July.
Maxwell has been held without bail since her July arrest on charges that she procured three underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 1997. She has pleaded not guilty.
The 2016 transcripts were among over 2,000 pages of documents that began to be released last year after a federal appeals court began the unsealing of documents from the since-settled defamation case brought in 2015 by Virginia Giuffre. She said Maxwell recruited her at age 17 to be sexually abused by Epstein and Maxwell from 1999 to 2002.
Giuffre has accused Epstein of arranging for her to have sexual encounters with numerous wealthy and influential men, including Britain’s Prince Andrew. He and the other men have denied her allegations.
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In the transcripts, Maxwell repeatedly derided Giuffre, saying: “She has lied repeatedly.”
She said she “never instructed Virginia to have sex with anybody ever.”
Asked if she trained Giuffre to recruit other women to perform sexual massages, Maxwell said: “It′s absurd and her entire story is one giant tissue of lies.”
The Miami Herald, whose reporting in 2018 brought fresh scrutiny to Epstein's crimes, had argued in seeking the unsealing that Maxwell's fear of embarrassment shouldn't stop the public from learning of “the sexual abuse of young girls at the hands of the wealthy and powerful.”
Epstein was 66 in August 2019 when he killed himself in a federal jail in Manhattan as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.