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No one knew Epstein's secrets like Ghislaine Maxwell; how much did her testimony reveal?

By Ben Wieder and Kevin G. Hall, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON - When a 418-page transcript of a deposition given by Ghislaine Maxwell is made public, perhaps by week's end, it will mark a major milestone in a legal fight by the Miami Herald to reveal Jeffrey Epstein's protected world by shining light in uncomfortable places.

Maxwell - the alleged madam to the late disgraced financier - sits in a New York jail awaiting a July trial date, denied bail on federal sex trafficking charges and considered a flight risk. She sought to block release of the lengthy April 2016 deposition, arguing it would hurt her defense in separate criminal proceedings.

Late Tuesday, her lawyers sought yet again to delay the deposition release, saying they were "still considering whether to seek any further emergency appellate remedies" or whether they would share any additional information to try to sway the judge.

After a flurry of court filings, the parties were told late Tuesday that the deposition would be released by 9 a.m. EDT Thursday morning in New York. The parties are expected to spend Wednesday fighting over what does or doesn't get blacked out when released.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled in favor of the Herald in July, determining that the public had a right to see many documents in Maxwell's settled civil suit with Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Maxwell appealed, and on Monday the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit agreed with Preska.

Speaking before the appeals court, the Herald's attorney, Christine Walz, a partner at Holland & Knight, argued that the documents shouldn't have been kept from the public in the first place.

 

"The judicial documents at issue involve matters of the utmost public importance - accusations of sex trafficking of young girls for years at the hands of the wealthy and powerful, that have been kept secret for far too long," she said.

Given the nature of the allegations that triggered the civil lawsuit, the deposition is likely to provide much greater detail about the scope of the alleged sex trafficking by Epstein and Maxwell, both in how Maxwell answered or did not.

The transcript's release has generated buzz because of the wealthy and powerful men in Maxwell and Epstein's orbit. President Donald J. Trump recently made headlines because rather than disavow Maxwell he remembered her fondly from his Palm Beach days and wished her well. Trump and others were in Epstein's now-infamous black book of acquaintances.

Epstein and Maxwell were also close to former President Bill Clinton, who appeared more than two dozen times in flight manifests for Epstein's jet, dubbed the Lolita Express.

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