Ghislaine Maxwell’s Former Assistant Sues Julie Brown and HarperCollins Over Epstein Book

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Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast, Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast, Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Star Miami Herald journalist Julie K. Brown is facing a second defamation lawsuit related to her 2021 book on the Jeffrey Epstein sex-trafficking case—this time, from a former assistant to the multimillionaire’s accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

In February, Epstein victims Courtney Wild and Haley Robson sued Brown in a Florida state court, claiming that her book, Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story, included “false and defamatory statements” and “re-victimized” them.

Now Emmy Tayler, a former member of Maxwell and Epstein’s inner circle, filed a complaint in federal court this week against Brown and publisher HarperCollins. The suit, first reported by Courthouse News, alleges the author and publisher “defamed” Taylor “by falsely identifying her as a co-conspirator, aider and abettor, facilitator and/or assistant in Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse pyramid scheme.”

Tayler, Wild, and Robson are represented by the same law firm: AXS Law Group in Miami.

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Brown declined to comment and referred questions to her lawyer, who did not respond by press time. HarperCollins also didn’t return messages seeking comment.

According to Tayler’s complaint, Brown “never attempted to approach” her for comment, and along with HarperCollins “elected to defame” her “without regard for the dire consequences she would suffer.”

The lawsuit cites one particular passage that describes how Epstein sexually abused a 14-year-old girl who visited his Palm Beach home in 2005 to provide him with a “massage.” Brown’s book states that Tayler was the assistant who arranged Epstein’s massage schedule and led the girl, referred to as Jane Doe 1, up the stairs to Epstein’s bedroom.

Tayler’s complaint, however, argues that she didn’t live in Palm Beach in 2005 and was not working as Epstein’s assistant. Instead, Tayler claims she was Maxwell’s assistant from 1997 to 2001 in London and New York before she relocated to Los Angeles in 2002. Tayler says she returned to the U.K. in 2007 and is now the sole caregiver to a relative.

“To be clear, Plaintiff was not employed by Maxwell at the time of the said 2005 incident with Jane Doe 1 in Palm Beach, Florida described in the Book, and, in fact, was living and working in Los Angeles, California at the time of the incident,” the suit states.

Tayler argues that the 2006 Palm Beach police report apparently referenced in Brown’s tell-all named longtime assistant Sarah Kellen—not Tayler—as the employee who delivered Jane Doe 1 to the money-manager’s lair. The police report “contains no such allegations against” Tayler, the lawsuit alleges, adding that “HarperCollins has even conceded that the Book falsely identified Plaintiff in the above-cited passage.”

HarperCollns added a “disclaimer” in the book related to Tayler but “have refused to recall the Book and have failed to take sufficient steps to ensure that it is no longer available to purchase or otherwise publicly available,” the complaint continues.

“Because of these defamatory statements, Plaintiff’s reputation has been gravely damaged, and she has been caused enormous and continuing distress, hurt, humiliation, and embarrassment,” the lawsuit alleges. Tayler “fears leaving her home, her mental health was and continues to be severely impacted as a result of the Defendants’ defamation, and she has suffered severe panic attacks,” the filing adds.

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Still, Tayler’s connections to Epstein and Maxwell have been reported for years, and she was mentioned repeatedly at Maxwell’s criminal trial last winter.

Juan Alessi, Epstein’s former butler from 1990 to 2002, testified that Tayler was an assistant of Maxwell who “used to travel with them constantly” and frequently visited the financier’s Palm Beach mansion during his employment. Epstein’s pilots Larry Visoski and David Rodgers also identified Tayler as a repeat passenger on his private jet.

Meanwhile, Jane Doe, one of four victims who testified at Maxwell’s trial, told jurors that a British woman named “Emmy” participated in group sex encounters with her when she was just 14 and 15 years old. (Jane did not specify a last name for “Emmy.”)

In 2019, Tayler’s name surfaced in a batch of unsealed court records related to survivor Virginia Giuffe’s now-settled lawsuit against Maxwell.

Those documents included excerpts from the deposition of a victim named Johanna Sjoberg, who claimed she was in college when Maxwell recruited her into Epstein’s sex ring in 2001. Sjoberg said that someone named “Emmy Taylor” brought her to Epstein’s bathroom, where both of the young women massaged the financier. “She was showing me how to massage,” Sjoberg testified.

Asked who “Emmy” worked for, Sjoberg answered “Ghislaine.”

“Did Maxwell ever refer to Emmy by any particular term?” a lawyer asked Sjoberg, who replied, “She called her her slave.”

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