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Documents unsealed in sexual abuse case against Jeffrey Epstein's ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell

Court papers show exchanges between late tycoon and Ms Maxwell over civil suit filed by alleged victim

Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss points to a photo of Jeffery Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell while announcing charges against Ms Maxwell on July 2, 2020. AFP
Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss points to a photo of Jeffery Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell while announcing charges against Ms Maxwell on July 2, 2020. AFP

Newly unsealed court documents provide a fresh glimpse into a fierce civil court 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 from a now-settled defamation lawsuit filed by one of Epstein's alleged victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

Ms Giuffre claimed in the suit and other litigation that Ms Maxwell recruited her in 2000 to be a sexual servant to Epstein. She said the couple subsequently pressured her into having sex with numerous rich or notable men, including Britain's Prince Andrew, US politicians, wealthy entrepreneurs, a famous scientist and a fashion designer.

Ms Maxwell, and all of the accused men, have denied those allegations for years.

Epstein was found hanged in prison last summer while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges. Ms Maxwell was recently arrested on federal charges that she recruited at least three girls, including one as young as 14, for Epstein to sexually abuse in the 1990s. Prosecutors said she also joined in the abuse.

She is jailed awaiting trial in New York.

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell arrives at Epsom Racecourse in June 5, 1991. PA via AP
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell arrives at Epsom Racecourse in June 5, 1991. PA via AP

Among the newly released documents were emails Ms Maxwell and Epstein exchanged in January 2015, when Ms Giuffre's allegations were getting a new round of media attention.

One email, sent from Epstein's email address but written in Maxwell's voice, appeared to be a draft a statement or set of talking points for Maxwell to use in defending herself. It said she had been the target of "false allegations of impropriety and offensive behaviour that I abhor and have never ever been party to”.

Responding to an email from her a few days later, Epstein wrote: “You have done nothing wrong and I (would) urge you to start acting like it.” He suggested she go outside and hold her head high, “not as an (escaping) convict”.

Many of the documents unsealed by the court Thursday had been available publicly before.

They included a deposition in which Ms Giuffre described the alleged abuse, and also answered questions about errors she had made previously in telling her story, including originally telling a court she was 15 when she met Epstein, when records showed she was at least a year older.

Ms Giuffre over the years has told her story to the FBI, but no charges were brought based on her allegations and she is not one of the three alleged victims in the current criminal case against Ms Maxwell.

Two documents that were not released as scheduled Thursday were depositions Maxwell gave in the civil lawsuit in 2016.

US District Judge Loretta Preska had ordered them released, but ms Maxwell’s lawyers appealed her ruling to the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Her lawyers said they should be blocked since she now faces criminal charges.

The depositions are expected to remain sealed at least until Monday, depending on when the appeals court issues its ruling.

Updated: July 31, 2020 10:43 AM

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