Ghislaine Maxwell civil depositions can be used at criminal trial, judge rules

Two 2016 depositions of Ghislaine Maxwell in a civil case in which she was repeatedly questioned about Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual activities can be used at her criminal trial on sex trafficking charges in November, a judge in New York ruled on Friday.

US district judge Alison Nathan rejected lawyers’ request that she block prosecutors from using the interviews.

The daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell is charged with procuring teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse.

Her lawyers argued Maxwell only participated in the depositions in the civil case because she was promised they would be kept secret.

The judge sealed her opinion explaining her reasoning until lawyers have time to recommend redactions.

Maxwell, 59, has been jailed since her arrest last July. A former girlfriend of Epstein, she has pleaded not guilty to charges that between 1994 and 2004 she recruited four teenage girls for Epstein to abuse.

Epstein, a wealthy financier and convicted sex offender, killed himself in his cell at a federal lockup in Manhattan in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.

Judge Nathan has three times rejected bail requests for Maxwell. A federal appeals court has twice agreed that Maxwell should remain incarcerated despite her willingness to pledge a $28.5m bail package that would include 24-hour armed guards and an offer to reject her British and French citizenships. She is also a US citizen.

Maxwell’s lawyers had hoped to force the dismissal of two perjury counts stemming from her answers to questions during depositions in April and July 2016.

In one count, Maxwell was charged with lying after saying “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when she was asked if Epstein had a “scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages”.

In another count, Maxwell was charged with perjury for saying she did not recall whether she was aware of the presence of sex toys or devices in sexual activities at Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, and for saying she wasn’t aware whether Epstein was having sexual activities with anyone other than herself.

The perjury charges stemmed from comments during depositions in a lawsuit brought by one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, which has since been settled.

Redacted versions of the transcripts of the depositions were released this year by a judge in response to requests by the Miami Herald.

In arguing that the depositions be unavailable for use at trial, Maxwell’s lawyers said their client had decided to answer questions rather than invoke her privilege against compulsory self-incrimination because a court-approved agreement ensured evidence would stay confidential.

The lawyers noted that a judge cited the confidentiality promise in granting a request that Maxwell be forced to answer “highly intrusive questions” related to her own sexual activity and her knowledge of the sexual activity of others at the depositions.

Maxwell’s attorneys did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.

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