Ghislaine Maxwell calls a Tallahassee federal prison home, but the convicted sex trafficker’s secrets are still being closely guarded.
A federal court in New York Monday night unsealed the latest batch of documents from her 2015 defamation lawsuit brought by victim Virginia Giuffre.
Like many of the most recent releases of unsealed documents from the suit — the last came out in May — the latest round of documents are short on new revelations, and still contain page-after-page of black ink, blotting out key names and entire conversations, keeping the secrets of Maxwell and her ex-boyfriend, serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, largely under lock and key.
Several documents from the latest round remain under seal as two additional people named in the documents — one identified as former Maxwell employee Emmy Tayler — continue to fight their release. The defamation suit between Giuffre and Maxwell was settled in 2017, but few documents related to the case were initially released. The Miami Herald has been fighting since April 2018 for documents from the case to be made public.
“Much of this information should never have been sealed in the first place,” said Christine Waltz, a partner at the law firm Holland & Knight, who has represented the Herald. “A right of access to judicial records means a right of timely access. Having to spend years fighting to unseal portions of documents line-by-line erodes the public’s right of access.”
Over the last several years, the court has periodically released documents from the case, many of which are heavily redacted. The batch of documents released Monday night was the second portion of materials that the court has been considering for the past year, with various parties mentioned in the materials given a chance to object to their name being unsealed.
The piecemeal nature of the release schedule means that the same documents have been released multiple times throughout the process, with sometimes subtle differences between each version.
Maxwell’s 73-page deposition from July 22, 2017, for example, appears largely identical to the transcript from prior releases, with whole pages blacked out. It even includes new redactions, with the word “children” blotted out twice.
The few new names that have been revealed in the most recent version of the deposition transcript are:
Les Wexner, the Ohio billionaire and founder of the Limited who employed Jeffrey Epstein as his financial manager;
Billionaire hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin and his wife, doctor and former model Eva Andersson-Dubin, who had previously dated Epstein;
Rinaldo Rizzo, an employee of the Dubins’ who has given testimony about an encounter he had with a young girl in the Dubins’ house who recounted being directed to have sex at Epstein’s home on his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Also unredacted is Maxwell’s declaration that she has never given anyone a massage, which is significant given the role that massages played in Epstein and Maxwell’s sex-trafficking scheme, with victims lured in with requests to give Epstein massages that inevitably turned sexual.
Maxwell’s claim contradicts a story told by Annie Farmer, one of Maxwell and Epstein’s victims, about a massage Maxwell had given Farmer when she visited Maxwell and Epstein at the age of 16 at Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico.
Farmer, one of four victims who testified at Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial last year, said that Maxwell had touched her breast during the massage. Maxwell’s blanket assertion about massages would also seem to contradict one of the photos released during her trial last year in which she appeared to be giving Epstein a foot massage on board one of his private planes.
It calls to mind the bizarre insistence of Maxwell’s friend, Prince Andrew, that he never sweats, which he mentioned in a disastrous BBC interview as part of an attempt to discredit Giuffre’s accusations that he had sexually assaulted her in Maxwell’s London home when Giuffre was a teenager.
Earlier versions of Maxwell’s deposition included an index, but after media outlets were able to use the index to decode the likely identity of some redacted names, the indexes attached to all subsequent depositions, including the one released again last night, have been redacted.
The new batch of documents also includes a transcript of the deposition of Epstein victim Sarah Ransome, as well as some of Ransome’s e-mails and photographs. Ransome, a South African model, discussed her abuse at Epstein’s homes on his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and in his New York mansion, and Maxwell’s role in coordinating Epstein’s sexual abuse of her and other girls at Epstein’s residences.
“[W]hen I was finished, another girl was called by Ghislaine. And when they had finished, another girl was called,” Ransome recalled in her February 2017 deposition.
Also unsealed are various e-mail messages Ransome sent — to friends, New York Post journalist Maureen Callahan and Epstein’s employees, including a message from someone identified as Lesley, which could be a reference to former Epstein assistant Lesley Groff.
Ransome’s messages with an employee of Epstein’s show her discussing her pending application to the Fashion Institute of Technology, which she says Epstein had promised to pay for, and include frequent references to her weight. Ransome has said that Epstein and Maxwell forced her to lose weight in exchange for their help with her application to the New York fashion school. Ransome would ultimately never attend FIT.
In Ransome’s messages with Callahan, she referred to a friend who had been forced to have sex with men Epstein knew in Epstein’s New York mansion, and who had been filmed by Epstein having sex with three different men, whose names are redacted in the document. She told Callahan that she had been trying to convince her friend to go public and had obtained excerpts of the sex tapes from her friend.
“I personally can confirm that I have, with my own two eyes, seen the evidence of these sexual acts, which clearly identifies [Redacted], [Redacted], [Redacted] having sexual intercourse with my friend,” Ransome wrote.
Ransome wrote in the messages to Callahan that her friend had reported Epstein to the police, but was humiliated by their reaction.
“She was made to feel like a dirty whore and a liar and wasn’t taken seriously,” Ransome wrote.
The messages with Callahan, from October 2016, show Ransome’s growing frustration as Callahan failed to write about Ransome’s experiences, with Ransome writing at one point that she will release her information through WikiLeaks instead.
“I will take down Epstein and his bunch of [expletive] wit cronies myself!!!!!!!!!!,” Ransome wrote.
She later indicated that her e-mail was hacked and wrote that she would like to retract what she told Callahan.
“I shouldn’t have contacted you and I’m sorry I wasted your time. It’s not worth coming forward and I will never be heard anyhow and only bad things will happen as a consequence of me going public and I know this to be true,” Ransome wrote. “I guess one person can’t make a difference.”
Ransome ultimately sued Epstein, Maxwell, and Epstein employees and alleged recruiters Sarah Kellen, Groff and Natalya Malyshev in January 2017. The suit was settled the following year. Ransome has since written a book about her experiences and spoke at Maxwell’s sentencing this past June and at a New York hearing for Epstein after he was arrested in July 2019.
Epstein’s arrest came following the Herald’s 2018 Perversion of Justice series, which examined the remarkably lenient plea deal Epstein had struck with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida in 2008 that allowed him to plead guilty to two charges of solicitation, one involving a minor, after Palm Beach police had investigated Epstein’s abuse of dozens of Florida girls and ultimately turned the case over to the FBI.
Epstein was allowed to serve only 13 months in the private wing of a Palm Beach jail and allowed to spend several hours a day working from an office outside of the jail.
Epstein was arrested on new sex trafficking charges in July 2019 and died in a federal prison cell a month later in what has been ruled a suicide.
Maxwell was arrested in July 2020 and accused of recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein’s abuse and participating in the abuse herself on at least one occasion. The statements Maxwell gave in her two depositions in the defamation lawsuit formed the basis for two perjury charges brought against Maxwell by federal prosecutors.
Those charges are on hold as the court awaits Maxwell’s appeal of her December 2021 conviction on five counts, including sex trafficking of a minor. Maxwell was sentenced this past June to 20 years in prison.
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