NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell said in a 2016 deposition about her friend the late financier Jeffrey Epstein that she never witnessed “inappropriate underage activities” by him, according to a transcript released on Thursday that Maxwell had fought to keep secret.
Maxwell, 58, pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom underage girls as young as 14 to engage in illegal sexual acts in the mid-1990s. She also pleaded not guilty to perjury for having denied involvement in any such scheme when she gave her deposition under oath.
Read the full deposition below:
The April 2016 deposition came from a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit against Maxwell by Virginia Giuffre, who has said Epstein kept her as a “sex slave” with Maxwell’s assistance.
Maxwell was asked questions about her relationship with Epstein. “I have never seen anybody have sexual intercourse with Jeffrey, ever,” the deposition transcript says, and later denied hiring anyone underage: “I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever.”
In the transcripts, Maxwell repeatedly derided Giuffre, saying: “I never ever at any single time at any point ever at all participated in anything with Virginia and Jeffrey. And for the record, she is an absolute total liar.”
She said she “never instructed Virginia to have sex with anybody ever.”
Asked if she trained Giuffre to recruit other women to perform sexual massages, Maxwell said: “It′s absurd and her entire story is one giant tissue of lies.”
The deposition motion alleged that Maxwell refused to answer questions about the “allegedly ‘adult’ sexual activity related to Jeffrey Epstein.”
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan directed that a transcript of Maxwell’s testimony and other documents be released Thursday morning.
Lawyers for Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend and longtime associate, had argued she believed the deposition would remain confidential and that releasing it would violate her constitutional right against self-incrimination.
The lawyers had also argued that making the deposition public could imperil Maxwell’s ability to get a fair trial, because jurors might hold its contents against her.
“If the unsealing order goes into effect, it will forever let the cat out of the bag,” and “intimate, sensitive, and personal information” about Maxwell might “spread like wildfire across the Internet,” her lawyers said in August.
A trial is scheduled for July 2021.
Maxwell was arrested on July 2 in Bradford, New Hampshire, where authorities said she was hiding on a property she bought in December in an all-cash transaction with her identity shielded.
She is locked up in a Brooklyn jail after the judge in her criminal case called her an unacceptable flight risk.
Maxwell’s deposition and other documents were cleared for release after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Monday rejected her “meritless” arguments that her interests outweighed the presumption the public should see the materials.
Giuffre, who has been one of Epstein’s most visible accusers, and the Miami Herald newspaper, which investigated Epstein’s conduct and successful bid in 2007 to avoid federal sex trafficking charges, had sought the unsealing.
Epstein died by suicide at age 66 in August 2019 at a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges announced the previous month.
He had previously escaped federal prosecution by pleading guilty in 2008 to Florida state prostitution charges, an agreement now widely considered too lenient.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
Reuters contributed to this report.