NEW YORK (Reuters) – A deposition British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell gave in 2016 related to her dealings with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein is expected to be made public on Thursday, a document Maxwell had fought hard to keep under wraps.
Maxwell, 58, has 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, and not guilty to perjury for having denied involvement in any such scheme when she gave her deposition under oath.
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.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan directed that a transcript of Maxwell’s testimony and other documents be released by 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) on Thursday.
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 killed himself 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.
Epstein once counted U.S. President Donald Trump, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew as friends. They have not been accused of criminal wrongdoing.
Giuffre has said she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends, including the British prince when she was 17 years old.
In an interview broadcast in Dec. 2019, Giuffre told BBC Panorama she had been brought to London in 2001 by Epstein and taken to meet the prince, one of three occasions when she claimed to have sex with Andrew.
Andrew has denied the allegations.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool