Emails between UK socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and the late US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have been revealed in a trove of unsealed court documents.
Epstein tells Ms Maxwell she has done “nothing wrong” in the 2015 exchange, which appears to contradict her earlier claims of not having contacted him.
And in a deposition, accuser Virginia Giuffre says Ms Maxwell was as equally involved in sex trafficking as Epstein.
Ms Maxwell faces a trial in the case in July and has pleaded not guilty.
She remains in custody in New York, charged with trafficking minors for Epstein and perjury. She could face up to 35 years in prison if convicted.
Epstein died in prison on 10 August 2019 as he awaited his trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was determined to be suicide.
Which documents have been released?
Dozens of papers were ordered to be unsealed late on Thursday by a court in New York.
There is a near 350-page paper containing the testimony from 2016 of Virginia Giuffre, who has alleged that she was forced into sex with Epstein and his friends. The deposition comes from her now-settled civil defamation lawsuit against Ms Maxwell.
There is also an email exchange between Ms Maxwell and Epstein from 2015, which shows how concerned she was about possible fallout from the case.
Police reports and flight logs from Epstein’s private jets have also been unsealed.
Lawyers for Ms Maxwell fought to keep the papers secret.
They have managed to get a temporary block on two additional documents – a deposition from 16 April related to Ms Maxwell’s sex life and another deposition, this time from an unnamed Epstein accuser.
They could still be released on Monday though, pending further court challenges.
What is in the email exchange?
An email sent by Epstein to Ms Maxwell on 21 January 2015 carries what appears to be a statement to be used by Ms Maxwell in defence of any accusations against her.
Ms Maxwell then sends an email on 24 January appearing to try to distance herself from any romantic relationship with Epstein, saying: “I would appreciate it if shelley would come out and say she was your g’friend – I think she was from end 99 to 2002.”
The identity of Shelley is unclear but Epstein writes back a day later that this is “ok, with me”.
He also says: “You have done nothing wrong and i woudl (sic) urge you to start acting like it. go outside, head high, not as an esacping (sic) convict. go to parties. deal with it.”
In her request for bail on 14 July, Ms Maxwell’s lawyers said she had not been in touch with Epstein for more than a decade.
What is in the deposition material?
This is the testimony from Virginia Giuffre, who alleges she was recruited by Ms Maxwell while working at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate some 20 years ago “for the purpose of being trafficked”.
She alleges she had sexual encounters on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean and in his homes in Palm Beach and New York.
A lot of the names in the transcript of people Ms Giuffre says she was involved with are redacted with black type.
In the newly released deposition, she says: “Jeffrey and Ghislaine are joined hip by hip, okay? So they both trafficked me. Ghislaine brought me in for the purpose of being trafficked. They trafficked me to many people.”
She adds: “Ghislaine Maxwell [is] the one who abused me on a regular basis. She’s the one that procured me, told me what to do, trained me as a sex slave, abused me physically, abused me mentally. She’s the one who I believe, in my heart of hearts, deserves to come forward and have justice happen to her more than anybody. Being a woman, it’s disgusting.”
Ms Giuffre also alleges she engaged in sexual activity with Ms Maxwell at a pool in the Virgin Islands, with “lots of girls” also engaged in what she described as “girl on girl” activity there.
In a 2016 deposition, Ms Maxwell denied all the allegations made against her by Ms Giuffre.
“Virginia is an absolute liar and everything she has said is a lie,” she says. “Therefore, based on those lies I cannot speculate on what anybody else did or didn’t do… everything she said is false.”
What are the charges Ms Maxwell faces?
Prosecutors allege that between 1994 and 1997, Ms Maxwell helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14. They have said that they expect “one or more victims” to testify.
Four of the charges Ms Maxwell faces relate to the years 1994-97 when she was, according to the indictment, among Epstein’s closest associates and also in an “intimate relationship” with him. The other two charges are allegations of perjury in 2016.
The indictment says Ms Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18”.
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Ms Maxwell is the daughter of the late British media mogul Robert Maxwell.
A well-connected figure, she is said to have introduced Epstein to many of her wealthy and powerful friends, including Bill Clinton and the Duke of York (who was accused in the 2015 court papers of touching a woman at Jeffrey Epstein’s US home, although the court subsequently struck out allegations against the duke).
Buckingham Palace has said that “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors” by the duke was “categorically untrue”.
Ms Maxwell, who has mostly been out of public view since 2016, was arrested at her remote estate in Bradford, New Hampshire, on 2 July.
Epstein sex trafficking case: Timeline
- 2005: One of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims, aged 14, reports him to the police in Palm Beach
- 2006: Epstein is charged with unlawful sex acts with a minor
- 2007: A plea deal is struck – instead of facing federal sex-trafficking charges, Epstein pleads guilty to two charges of soliciting prostitution, including with a minor
- 2008: Epstein gets an 18-month sentence following the plea deal
- November 2018: The Miami Herald publishes an explosive investigation into Epstein, the plea deal, and the dozens of women alleging abuse
- July 2019: Epstein is arrested again, accused of sex trafficking of underage girls over a number of years
- August 2019: Epstein is found dead in his prison cell while awaiting trial
- 2 July 2020: Ghislaine Maxwell is arrested by the FBI at her New Hampshire home
- 14 July 2020: Ms Maxwell pleads not guilty to charges of trafficking minors for Epstein and is denied bail