Ghislaine Maxwell loses fight to keep her Jeffrey Epstein testimony sealed.
A federal appeals court dealt Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged madam to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, twin blows late Monday by declining to consolidate her appeals in numerous overlapping cases and striking down her effort to thwart release of a controversial deposition she gave in a now-settled civil lawsuit.
The three-judge Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held more than two hours of oral arguments last week, and issued a succinct Monday afternoon order holding that a lower court judge did not err in ordering the release of a 418-page deposition from April 2016 that could shed new light on the Epstein empire.
“We have reviewed all of the arguments raised by Defendant-Appellant Maxwell on appeal and find them to be without merit,” the judges wrote, also turning away a request for consolidation with Maxwell’s criminal case in the Southern District of New York. “We DENY the motion to consolidate this appeal with the pending appeal in United States v. Maxwell.”
The ruling affirmed a decision over the summer by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to release hundreds of documents from a 2015 civil suit involving Maxwell and Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre. The case was settled in 2017 and the Miami Herald sued for the release of the documents following its groundbreaking November 2018 Perversion of Justice series, which spotlighted how Epstein escaped serious punishment despite widespread accusations that he sexually abused underage girls. Epstein was arrested in July 2019 and found dead in a jail cell the following month, determined to be a suicide.
“We are pleased that the Second Circuit’s decision will allow the public access to documents, including Ms. Maxwell’s deposition, that have been kept secret for far too long,” said Christine Walz, a partner in the law firm Holland & Knight who argued on behalf of the Herald.
David Boies, the high-profile attorney representing Giuffre, also welcomed the appellate decision.
”It is an important step towards vindicating the public interest in understanding the scope and scale of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring and the efforts made to conceal it,” Boies said in an emailed statement.
Giuffre has said that she was recruited by Maxwell at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in 2000 where Giuffre, who was around 17 at the time, was working as a spa assistant. She has said she was abused by Epstein and that Epstein and Maxwell directed her to have sex with a number of their prominent friends, including Prince Andrew, former Sen. George Mitchell, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, hotel magnate Tom Pritzker and prominent attorney Alan Dershowitz, among others. All of the men have denied the claims and Dershowitz and Giuffre have each sued each other for defamation.