Epstein’s ‘Madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell Accused of Sending Girls to His Powerful Friends

Kate Briquelet, Pilar Melendez, Emily Shugerman
·12 min read
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

The long-secret testimony of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, has finally been made public, and it includes explosive claims—including that Epstein abused one victim when she was only 13 years old, and that he and Maxwell arranged for victims to get visas in order to enter the United States.

Maxwell, 58, is also accused of sending a victim to give erotic massages and have sexual encounters with Epstein’s friends, and dressing the same girl up in schoolgirl outfits and black patent leather. (Maxwell denied the claims, complaining, “That would just be another one of [the girl’s] lies.” She also testified, “I don't recollect anything about a laundry basket of sex toys.”)

Four years after her confidential deposition in one victim’s lawsuit, Maxwell’s answers to under-oath questioning provide a deeper look into Epstein’s trafficking ring ahead of her criminal trial scheduled for next year. In July, Manhattan federal prosecutors charged Maxwell in connection to Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring. Authorities say the British heiress recruited and groomed girls as young as 14 in the mid-1990s; she is also charged with perjury for allegedly lying about her knowledge of Epstein’s abuse during the 2016 deposition.

The socialite, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held at a Brooklyn federal detention center pending trial. She faces 35 years behind bars, if convicted.

On Monday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the unsealing of Maxwell’s 2016 deposition from a now-settled defamation suit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims Maxwell and Epstein trafficked her to powerful men for years. When a notorious photo emerged of Britain’s Prince Andrew with his arm around a young Giuffre, it revealed Maxwell grinning in the background.

It was Giuffre who claimed Maxwell dispatched her to give massages and sexual favors to Epstein’s pals, whose names are redacted in the deposition. In other documents from the same case, Giuffre named many men in the alleged trafficking ring, including hedge funder Glenn Dubin, former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, and Prince Andrew, who have all denied the accusations.

In one disturbing section of the deposition, Maxwell was asked whether she was aware that Epstein had sexual contact with a victim who was only 13 years old. Maxwell replied only, “I would be very shocked and surprised if that were true.”

Elsewhere, Maxwell was questioned about an alleged 14-year-old victim. “First of all, I couldn't tell you how old she was, she didn't [look] like a child, leave it at that,” she snapped.

She also denied that she’d arranged for a visa for a third victim to come into the country. But when asked if Epstein had arranged for the visa, Maxwell replied, “I don't know what Jeffrey did. I cannot testify what Jeffrey did.” Later, Maxwell was asked again, “Did you provide any assistance with obtaining visas for foreign girls that were under the age of 18?”

“I've never participated in helping people of any age to get visas,” she replied.

In the deposition, Maxwell—who testified she is a “citizen” of TerraMar, her dubious oceans charity that Epstein pumped money into—said she started working for Epstein “at some point in 1992” and that she stopped any significant work for him in 2008 or 2009. She said she was hired to decorate and staff his six homes—to supply them with cooks, cleaners, gardeners, pilots, pool attendants, butlers, chauffeurs, and housekeepers. Epstein paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars for her work and even bought her a townhouse. She testified that she met the elusive money man in 1991 when friends introduced them, and that Epstein had never known her father, the larger-than-life publisher Robert Maxwell.

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“I’m a very loyal person and Jeffrey was very good to me when my father passed away,” Maxwell testified. “And I believe that you need to be a good friend in people's hour of need and I felt that it was a very thoughtful, nice thing for me to do to help in very limited fashion which was helping if he had any issue with his homes, in terms of the staffing issues. It was very, very minor but I felt it was thoughtful in somebody's hour of need.”

Many of Epstein’s victims, including Giuffre, have accused Maxwell of acting as Epstein’s main recruiter, picking up underage girls for him in Central Park, Paris, and even at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, where Giuffre claimed Maxwell approached her for massage work when she was only 16. Giuffre also claimed Maxwell trained her on how to recruit other underage girls to give massages, and that the older woman participated in sexual activities with her and Epstein.

“I never ever at any single time at any point ever at all participated in anything with Virginia and Jeffrey. And for the record, she is an absolute total liar and you all know she lied on multiple things and that is just one other disgusting thing,” Maxwell shot back.

Maxwell testified under oath that she never hired anyone under the age of 18 to work for Epstein, never gave Epstein a massage with an underage girl, and never saw Epstein receiving a massage from an underage girl. “When I was there, at the time I was present, the people that gave Jeffrey, men and women who gave Jeffrey massages were adults over the age of 18,” she said. She also testified that she never saw underage girls on Epstein’s private Caribbean island, where Giuffre says she participated in a group orgy at age 18 with Epstein’s close pal Prince Andrew.

At another point, Maxwell refused to answer whether she believed Epstein sexually abused minors. Instead, she merely replied, “I can say with certitude that everything Virginia said was a lie.”

“She is an absolute liar and everything she said is a lie and therefore, everything that stems from that is a lie,” Maxwell fumed, calling Giuffre a “terrible person.”

Maxwell was also asked repeatedly about a Palm Beach police report detailing Epstein’s abuse of 30 underage victims. “I can’t testify to what the girls said,” Maxwell said. “I can only testify to the fact that I read a police report that stated that.” She claimed she visited Epstein’s Florida mansion only a handful of times in 2004 and 2005, when the financier was getting “massages” several times a day from these girls.

In one section of the deposition that appears to refer to Prince Andrew, Maxwell was asked if she introduced Giuffre to the royal in London, or directed her to have sex with the prince. Maxwell replied she had no recollection of a trip with Giuffre to Europe—despite the highly-publicized picture of the three together at Maxwell’s London townhouse—and that “I have never at any time, at any place, in any moment ever asked Virginia Roberts or whatever she is called now to have sex with anybody.”

Maxwell testified that she had discussed the infamous photo with Prince Andrew and that “he doesn’t even know who Virginia Roberts is ... It would be difficult to have sex with someone you don’t know.” The royal, nicknamed “Randy Andy” by the press, has claimed that he couldn’t have had sex with Giuffre because he was at home on the evening in question—after a pizza dinner with his daughter—but a bystander witness has placed him at a nightclub with Giuffre that night.

Maxwell was also questioned about a bizarre incident with a puppet: the socialite and Epstein allegedly used a marionette that looked like the prince to grope Giuffre, while at the same time the royal groped another young woman sitting on his lap. “Did you use that caricature to put the hand of the caricature on [REDACTED’s] breast?” lawyers asked Maxwell. “I don’t recollect,” she replied. “I recollect the puppet but I don’t recollect anything around the puppet.”

In the deposition, Maxwell became evasive as lawyers pressed her on whether she’d hired Giuffre to give Epstein massages.

“Virginia Roberts [Giuffre] held herself out as a masseuse and invited herself to come and give a massage,” Maxwell testified. “I'm not asking that question. I’m asking if you invited her to come to Jeffrey Epstein's home when she was under the age of 18,” her questioner pressed. “Again, I repeat, she was a masseuse and in the form and as my job, I was to have people who he wanted for various things including massage. She came as a masseuse.”

“I'm not asking how she held herself out. I'm asking how she arrived at the home,” her questioner asked again. “Did you meet her and invite her to come to the home or how did she arrive there?”

“Ms. Roberts held her to be a masseuse and her mother drove her to the house,” Maxwell answered, dodging the question again, before ripping into Giuffre. “Virginia lied 100 percent about absolutely everything that took place in that first meeting. She has lied repeatedly, often and is just an awful fantasist.”

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Later, Maxwell flatly stated she did not remember meeting Giuffre at Mar-a-Lago, despite a 2011 email with Epstein in which Maxwell wrote she recalled meeting Giuffre “when she was working at a premier resort claiming to be 18 years old and a professional masseuse.”

Maxwell also admitted to coordinating with Epstein over a future story in Vanity Fair in 2011, when British press began to scrutinize Prince Andrew's ties to Epstein. In a June 8, 2011 email, with the subject line “Vanity Fair,” Maxwell asked Epstein, “Do you have a problem with anything I said?” She claimed under oath that the two were coordinating because “I only wanted to be accurate in any factual statements that I made.”

Other emails show Maxwell and Epstein working together to try to discredit Giuffre’s claims. In one email to Maxwell, Epstein told her, “You can issue a reward to any of Virginia's friends, aquaints, family, that come forward to help prove her allegations are false. The strongest is the dinner and the new version of the Virgin Islands that practiced in an underage orgy.”

In another instance, Maxwell forwarded Epstein an email from a third party that appeared to detail how to dodge problems around age of consent in the state of Florida. “School can be university. Age of consent in Florida is complex,” the email read. “See below, if you are 16 years old, a sexual relationship with someone between 18 and 24 is legal in Florida. Two persons between 16 and 24, Florida statute 794.05. A person 24 years or of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony in the second degree.”

Epstein’s victims have accused him of forcing them into sexual encounters with other girls and young women, including his alleged “sex slave” and accomplice Nadia Marcinkova. (Marcinkova’s lawyers have denied she was involved in criminal activities and say she’s a victim of Epstein herself.)

In two emails between Epstein and Maxwell, from January 2015, the pair discussed whether a third woman should come out publicly to say she was Epstein’s girlfriend during the time Maxwell and Epstein dated, in the years between 1999-2002. Elsewhere in the deposition, when asked if she considered herself to be Epstein’s girlfriend, Maxwell replied, “That’s a tricky question. There were times when I would have liked to think of myself as his girlfriend.”

Maxwell fought to keep the 418-page transcript secret, saying it contained “intimate” information about her sex life—and that release of the records could jeopardize her ability to defend herself in a pending criminal case.

In the deposition, Maxwell was asked if she ever had sex with a female whose name was redacted. “She is an adult,” Maxwell replied. “Did you ever have sexual contact with [her]?” a lawyer asked. “I've just been instructed not to answer,” Maxwell said, adding later, “I've never had nonconsensual sex with anybody.”

Maxwell has long denied any involvement in Epstein’s trafficking enterprise. Her lawyers said she only sat for the deposition in Giuffre’s civil case because of a protective order that kept her testimony hidden from the public.

Still, the appeals court upheld the U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska’s decision in July to release hundreds of documents from Giuffre's lawsuit.

Giuffre’s lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, called the ruling “an important step toward vindicating the public interest in understanding the scope and scale of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring and the efforts made to conceal it.”

The last tranche of unsealed records named a host of famous people in Epstein’s orbit, including former President Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew.

In a transcript of a phone call with a lawyer, Giuffre claimed Clinton visited Epstein’s private isle in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She said the financier, who died in a jailhouse suicide in August 2019, joked about Clinton being beholden to him.

“You know, I remember asking Jeffrey what’s Bill Clinton doing here [on the island],” Giuffre told the lawyer, according to the document. Giuffre claimed Epstein laughed off her question and replied, “Well, he owes me a favor.”

In Maxwell’s deposition, she slammed Giuffre’s information on Clinton as fabrication. “Virginia is absolutely totally lying...one of lies she told was that President Clinton was on the island where I was present. Absolutely 1000 percent that is a flat out total fabrication and lie.”

But Maxwell did admit that she’d flown on Epstein’s planes with the former president aboard.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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