Recently unsealed court documents provide a new glimpse of a fierce court fight that preceded criminal charges against financier Jeffrey Epstein and his ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell
LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press
July 31, 2020 at 5:43 am
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NEW YORK – Recently sealed court documents offer a new glimpse of a fierce legal fight between Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, and one of the women who accused the couple of sexual abuse.
The documents released on Thursday were of a defamation case now settled by one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Giuffre claimed in the lawsuit and other litigations that Maxwell recruited her in 2000 to be Epstein’s sex servant. She said the couple pressured her to have sex with several wealthy or notable men, including British Prince Andrew, U.S. politicians, wealthy businessmen, a famous scientist and fashion stylist.
Maxwell, and all the defendants, have denied these allegations for years.
Among the newly released documents were the emails that Maxwell and Epstein exchanged in January 2015, when Giuffre’s claims were getting a new round of media attention.
An e-mail, sent from Epstein’s address, but written in Maxwell’s voice, appeared to be a draft of a statement or set of talking points for Maxwell to use to defend himself. It said that she had been the target of “false allegations of impropriety and offensive behavior that I abhor and never participated in”.
Responding to an e-mail from Maxwell a few days later, Epstein wrote, “You have done nothing wrong and I would recommend that you start acting this way.” He suggested that she go out and hold her head high, “not as a convict (fugitive)”.
Epstein killed himself last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Maxwell was recently arrested on federal charges of recruiting at least three girls, including one aged 14, for Epstein to sexually abuse in the 1990s. Prosecutors said she also joined the abuse.
Maxwell is in jail awaiting trial in New York.
Many of the documents unsealed by the court on Thursday were already available to the public before.
They included a testimony in which Giuffre described the alleged abuse and also answered questions about the mistakes she had previously made in telling her story, including originally telling a court that she was 15 when she met Epstein, when records showed she was at least one year older.
Giuffre has, over the years, told his story to the FBI, but no charges have been made based on his allegations and she is not one of three alleged victims in the current criminal case against Maxwell.
Two documents that were not released as scheduled for Thursday were the testimonies Maxwell gave in the civil case in 2016.
US District Judge Loretta A. Preska had ordered his release, but Maxwell’s lawyers appealed the decision to the US Circuit’s 2nd Court of Appeals.
Her lawyers said they should be blocked, as she now faces criminal charges.
Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak and Jim Mustian contributed to this report.