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Ghislaine Maxwell lawyers attempt to keep deposition details secret

Ghislaine Maxwell lawyers attempt to keep deposition details secret

 Lawyers say unsealing details related to Maxwell’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein will undermine her right to a fair trial

The judge’s order applied to a tranche of documents in a settled civil lawsuit relating to claims about her alleged involvement in Epstein’s sex trafficking.
The judge’s order applied to a tranche of documents in a settled civil lawsuit relating to claims about her alleged involvement in Epstein’s sex trafficking. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
 in New York

Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell will appear before federal appeals judges in New York on Tuesday afternoon, in an attempt to keep under wraps a deposition from past civil litigation regarding her relationship with the convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

The British socialite is urging the US second circuit court of appeals to overturn Manhattan federal court judge Loretta Preska’s July decision to unseal the deposition.

Preska’s order applied to a tranche of documents, not just Maxwell’s sworn testimony, in a settled civil lawsuit relating to claims about her alleged involvement in Epstein’s sex trafficking. While nearly all the documents were unsealed, Maxwell was able to secure a delay over her deposition.

Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre alleged that Maxwell brought her into Epstein’s orbit as a teen, under the guise of providing work as a masseuse.

Giuffre accused Maxwell and Epstein of pressuring her to engage in sex with wealthy and powerful men including Prince Andrew. Her 2015 civil action maintained that Maxwell defamed her in claiming she was a liar for alleging the couple participated in sexual impropriety. The Duke of York has vehemently denied Giuffre’s allegations.

Maxwell, who was arrested in July for alleged sex crimes, conspiracy and perjury relating to Epstein, contended in court papers that unsealing the deposition “will lead to a violation of [her] due process right to a fair trial by an impartial jury”. She pleaded not guilty in her criminal case.

The Manhattan US attorney used the deposition – which Maxwell believed was confidential – in its perjury allegation against her, claiming she lied under oath.

“The criminal indictment quotes directly from it,” Maxwell’s legal team said in court documents. “The district court’s unsealing order eviscerates the promise of confidentiality on which Ms Maxwell and numerous third parties reasonably relied. It sanctions the perjury trap unfairly set for Ms Maxwell, in violation of the fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination.”

When Maxwell sat for the deposition in 2016, “and was compelled to answer numerous personal, sensitive, and allegedly incriminatory questions”, her lawyers said, “it was only after the lower federal court had guaranteed confidentiality”.

“If the unsealing order goes into effect, it will forever let the cat out of the bag,” her lawyers also argued.

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