Court Releases Sealed Documents Related to Ghislaine Maxwell's Connection to Jeffrey Epstein

A federal judge has unsealed hundreds of pages of transcripts and other court documents related to a now-settled defamation suit against Ghislaine Maxwell, who is now accused of sex trafficking charges connected to Jeffrey Epstein. The documents include a deposition given by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the draft she was writing about her experiences inside the sex-trafficking ring, as well as email exchanges between Maxwell and Epstein.

The documents also included an email exchange in which Epstein protested his innocence and appeared to provide Maxwell with a statement to the media or set of talking points that she might use in defending herself against the allegations. Maxwell had been the "target of outright lies, innuendo, slander, defamation and salacious gossip and harassment," the email said in language that pushed back against "false allegations of impropriety and offensive behavior that I abhor and have never ever been party to."

A few days later, responding to an email from Maxwell, Epstein wrote, "You have done nothing wrong and I (would) urge you to start acting like it." He encouraged her to "go outside, head high, not as an (escaping) convict. go to parties. deal with it."

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ordered the documents unsealed last week after Maxwell's lawyer Laura Menninger made a last-minute appear to keep them from going public. Preska ordered "many" of the case's documents to be released last week, but gave Menninger one week to file an emergency appeal with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Preska also ordered both sides in the case to prepare for the records to be unsealed, which includes making any necessary redactions.

The 2015 defamation case generated more than 1,200 court docket entries; however, many important documents have never been exposed until now. The case's docket report described more than 50 records as "SEALED DOCUMENT placed in vault."

Maxwell, who was once Epstein's girlfriend, was charged earlier this month with several counts related to sex trafficking of minors and perjury. The 58-year-old pleaded not guilty and is currently in a federal jail in Brooklyn. Giuffre brought the 2015 defamation suit after Maxwell accused her of lying when she alleged Epstein and Maxwell had sexually abused and exploited her.

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Giuffre has said Epstein arranged for her to have sex with powerful men, including Britain's Prince Andrew. She said the abuse took place at Epstein's many properties, including Florida, New York, and on his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prince Andrew has denied the allegation. In recent months, federal prosecutors in New York have said they'd like to speak with him, who was photographed with his arm around Giuffre's waist, with Maxwell smiling in the background.

The defamation suit was settled in 2017, but Giuffre insisted many of the records should be made public, saying it would serve the public interest to open access to them. Maxwell claimed that would unfairly harm people whose names appear in the documents. Her attorney said releasing the records would jeopardize Maxwell's right to a fair trial.