Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, speaks at a news conference on oceans and sustainable development at the United Nations in New York, U.S. June 25, 2013 in this screengrab taken from United Nations TV file footage.
UNTV | Reuters
A lawyer for Ghislaine Maxwell, who is charged with enabling Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls, in a new court filing Wednesday said that the British socialite may have been the victim of a “perjury trap” by lawyers for an Epstein accuser when she was questioned in a related civil case.
Maxwell’s lawyer Ty Gee also claims that her 2016 depositions in that civil case were improperly shared with federal prosecutors in violation of a judge’s protective order, and that prosecutors then used the deposition to charge Maxwell with perjury, in addition to sex crimes, this month.
Gee also asked Manhattan federal judge Loretta Preska to reconsider her recent decision unsealing a slew of records in the civil case, or to be granted several days to appeal the unsealing order to an appeals court.
Preska has said the files will be publicly released Thursday absent an appeal by Maxwell’s lawyer.
The case involves a since-settled defamation lawsuit between Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre and Maxwell.
Maxwell’s lawyer is asking Preska to investigate how prosecutors obtained the relevant files from the civil case in violation of the judge’s protective order, and to issue sanctions.
“Ms. Maxwell’s two deposition transcripts were designated ‘Confidential’ and subject to the protection of the Protective Order,” Gee wrote.
“Both transcripts ended up in the hands of the government, which used them to bring an indictment against Ms. Maxwell, charging her with, among other things, perjury in her deposition testimony.”
“This is a serious violation of the Protective Order, and merits the commencement of contempt proceedings,” Gee wrote.
Maxwell’s lawyer also said that the deposition transcripts obtained by prosecutors and the perjury counts against here “place in a new light [Giuffre’s] earlier litigation conduct — suggesting the planned use of Ms. Maxwell’s deposition as a perjury trap.”
Gee said that throughout much of the first year of the lawsuit, which began in 2015, Giuffre, through her lawyers, had represented to the judge and Maxwell’s lawyer that Giuffre “was privy to and participating in an ongoing criminal investigation in which Ms. Maxwell was a ‘person of interest.'”
Maxwell, 58, was arrested and charged in early July with conspiring with Epstein to sexually abuse children as young as 14, and for lying under oath in the Giuffre civil case by denying, among other things, that Epstein had “a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages.”
She is being held in a Brooklyn federal jail in her criminal case, in which she has pleaded not guilty.
Epstein, 66, committed suicide last August in a Manhattan federal jail, where he was being held without bail on child sex trafficking charges.
A wealthy investor who once counted Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton as his friends, Epstein previously served a 13-month stint in a Florida jail after pleading guilty in 2008 to state criminal charges, including paying for sex with an underage girl.
Trump earlier this month said of Maxwell, “I wish her well.”