NEW YORK — Ghislaine Maxwell sought a last-minute delay Wednesday of publication of reams of papers on Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme, arguing his accusers set a “perjury trap” that landed her in jail.
Maxwell’s request revolved around depositions she took in 2016 in connection with a mostly secret civil lawsuit filed by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre. Federal prosecutors cited statements Maxwell made in the depositions in an indictment charging her with perjury.
Maxwell attorney Ty Gee wrote prosecutors should not have had access to the deposition, which remains under seal through a protective order. Someone, he wrote, must have illegally leaked the transcript to the feds.
“The government had no ability legally to obtain the deposition transcripts,” Gee wrote.
“They set a perjury trap for Ms. Maxwell when (Giuffre) took her deposition.”
In a previously undisclosed detail, Giuffre said in 2015 and 2016 that she was participating in an ongoing criminal investigation in which Maxwell, 58, was a “person of interest,” Gee wrote.
The nature of that investigation was unclear. Manhattan federal prosecutors have said they began investigating Epstein after reading a Miami Herald investigation on him published in November 2018.
Maxwell only agreed to the depositions with the assurance they would not be turned over to law enforcement, Gee wrote.
“(Maxwell) reasonably relied on the Protective Order in disclosing intimate information about her personal life,” Gee wrote.
The dispute hints at Maxwell’s defense against the perjury counts, which accuse her of lying when she said she knew nothing about Epstein’s systematic abuse of underage girls. Maxwell also allegedly lied when she said she wasn’t aware Epstein possessed sex toys or was having sex with anyone but her.
The new arguments came one day before the court-ordered unsealing of reams of documents, including the Maxwell deposition. Gee argued that the publication of the documents would impact Maxwell’s right to an impartial jury.
“The public’s right of access to Ms. Maxwell’s deposition transcript is substantially outweighed by the compelling interest in ensuring her right to a fair trial,” Gee wrote.
Maxwell is also accused of grooming girls in the mid-1990s for Epstein’s sex abuse. She has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.
Epstein hanged himself in custody last year while awaiting trial for sex trafficking of minors. Maxwell, long accused of serving as the multimillionaire’s madam, says she’s wrongly replaced Epstein in the public eye.
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