Maxwell Can’t Prevent Release of Her Deposition, Court Rules
Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of participating in sex-trafficking with Jeffrey Epstein, can’t prevent the release of testimony she gave in a defamation lawsuit filed by one of her alleged victims, a federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled.
The appellate panel on Monday refused to overturn a decision by a federal judge who authorized release of her 2016 deposition in the civil case brought by accuser Virginia Giuffre. The court also rejected Maxwell’s request to allow her use evidence she’d gotten from prosecutors in her criminal case to fight claims brought by her accusers.
“We cannot conclude the district court abused its discretion in ordering the unsealing of the deposition,” the three-judge appellate panel said, adding that Maxwell’s arguments are “without merit.”
The British socialite, who had appealed the rulings on Oct. 13, is being held in a Brooklyn lockup while she awaits trial next year on charges she trafficked girls as young as 14 for Epstein’s abuse, participated in some of the alleged assaults and also lied in sworn testimony she gave in the defamation suit.
Laura Menninger, a lawyer for Maxwell, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Maxwell, who has pleaded not guilty, told the Manhattan-based appeals court that her chance of a fair trial in the criminal case would be “irreparably harmed” if her 2016 deposition was made public. Her lawyers have argued that the material included “intrusive questioning” about her sex life that she had answered based on her expectation of confidentiality and that its disclosure would “forever let the cat out of the bag.”
Giuffre, who claimed Maxwell and Epstein made her the financier’s sex slave when she was 16, sued Maxwell for calling her account “obvious lies.”
Maxwell also challenged a ruling by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan that she couldn’t use evidence she obtained from her pending criminal case in civil suits brought against her. Federal prosecutors told the court that disclosure of the evidence could affect an “ongoing” federal grand jury investigation into Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators.
Epstein, who was arrested in July 2019 on sex-trafficking charges, was found dead in a federal jail in Manhattan the following month in what authorities ruled a suicide.
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