Ghislaine Maxwell’s Testimony About Her Sex Life Could Soon Be Released
(Bloomberg) -- A federal judge is considering making public a trove of previously sealed records from a 2015 lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, who is now facing charges that she trafficked girls as young as 14 for her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in New York scheduled a Thursday conference to discuss the possible unsealing of five different sets of documents relating to a defamation lawsuit against Maxwell by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre, whom Maxwell had said was lying.
The possible release is coming as Maxwell’s lawyer are trying to tamp down statements about her criminal case, in which she has pleaded not guilty. On Tuesday, they asked the judge in that case, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, to issue a gag order on prosecutors, FBI agents and lawyers for Maxwell and Epstein’s alleged victims.
The documents Preska is considering unsealing appear to be partly related to deposition testimony Maxwell, 58, gave in the case in April and July 2016. One of her lawyers said in a recent court filing that one of the documents included “intrusive questioning” about Maxwell’s sex life that she had answered based on her expectation of confidentiality.
A federal appeals court in New York unsealed 40 of the 613 pages of Maxwell’s testimony last August. Her sworn denials of knowledge about Epstein’s abuse of underage girls are the basis for two perjury counts that accompanied the sex-trafficking charges in the indictment unsealed against her on July 2 by Manhattan federal prosecutors.
The record of Giuffre’s lawsuit was sealed in 2017 after the parties reached a confidential settlement. The partial unsealing last year followed Epstein’s arrest on sex-trafficking charges. He was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Manhattan jail cell on Aug. 10, a day after parts of Maxwell’s testimony first became public.
Maxwell’s lawyer Laura Menninger didn’t immediately return voicemail and email messages seeking comment about the conference.
Menninger in June argued against further unsealing, saying one document pertained to Giuffre’s efforts “to compel Ms. Maxwell to answer intrusive questions about her sex life” during her deposition. Menninger said Maxwell answered the questions because she had “a strong expectation of continued confidentiality.”
The lawyer also cited the then ongoing criminal investigation of Maxwell, saying any disclosures from the Giuffre lawsuit could “inappropriately influence potential witnesses or alleged victims.”
Sigrid McCawley, a lawyer for Giuffre, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment about Preska’s planned conference.
In the testimony that has been made public, Maxwell acknowledged hiring Giuffre as a 17-year-old massage therapist for Epstein at his Palm Beach estate but denied knowledge of any sexual abuse.
“You can be a professional masseuse at 17 in Florida, so as far as I am aware, a professional masseuse showed up for a massage,” Maxwell said. “There is nothing inappropriate or incorrect about that.”
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