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Judge rips into Ghislaine Maxwell as sealed Epstein documents begin to emerge

Ben Wieder and Kevin G. Hall, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

Her lawyers have argued that the perjury charges come from protected depositions in the civil lawsuit, but they have not provided proof that they were shared and not the product of a subpoena.

The criminal sex trafficking charges stemmed from Maxwell's alleged recruitment and grooming of three girls between 1994 and 1997 to be abused by Epstein. In one case, Maxwell allegedly participated in the abuse herself.

"Maxwell's presence as an adult woman helped put the victims at ease as Maxwell and Epstein intended," said Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, in announcing the charges against Maxwell at a news conference in early July.

The charges against Maxwell came almost one year after federal prosecutors in New York had brought new charges against Epstein, driven in part by The Miami Herald's Perversion of Justice series, which detailed Epstein's lenient sentence for sex charges a decade earlier.

In the wake of the new Epstein charges, then-U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who as U.S. attorney for Southern Florida signed off on a lenient plea deal more than a decade earlier in a state case that spared Epstein a federal prison sentence, resigned from the Trump administration.

A 2015 e-mail unsealed Thursday between Epstein and Maxwell appears to suggest that Maxwell was "not part of, nor ... (had) anything do with, JE plea bargain."

 

Maxwell has been accused by Epstein's victims of recruiting them for sexual exploitation by Epstein when they were girls, sometimes participating in sex acts along with the multimillionaire.

"Without Ghislaine, Jeffrey could not have done what she did," one of the three alleged victims said in a statement at Maxwell's arraignment. "She was a predator and a monster."

Maxwell's lawyers argued that federal prosecutors had obtained Maxwell's deposition from the Giuffre lawsuit in violation of a protective order barring it, and other confidential materials from the case, from being shared. They suggested that Giuffre's legal team was responsible for sharing the material, but offered no evidence to support the claim.

Legal woes are catching up with Maxwell on numerous fronts. The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands is pursuing a civil enforcement action against the estate of Epstein, who died last Aug. 11 in a Manhattan jail, alleging the estate was an ongoing criminal enterprise that defrauded the islands of tax money.

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