BY JONATHAN STEMPEL
Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell on Wednesday made a last-ditch effort to keep potentially damaging testimony she gave four years ago under wraps, as she defends against criminal charges she aided the late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls.
The request came ahead of a Thursday deadline for Maxwell to appeal the release of her April 2016 deposition and dozens of other documents from a now-closed civil defamation lawsuit against her by one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre.
Maxwell’s lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan to reconsider portions of her July 23 order requiring the release of her deposition and a deposition by an unnamed accuser.
They accused Giuffre and federal prosecutors of misconduct for violating a protective order in the civil case designed to keep the Maxwell deposition confidential.
The lawyers have said the deposition included “intrusive” questions about the British socialite’s sex life, and could prove embarrassing if released in its entirety.
Giuffre has said Epstein kept her as a “sex slave” with Maxwell’s assistance.
Maxwell’s lawyers accused her of leaking the deposition, and “in conjunction with the government” setting a “perjury trap” for their client, whose six criminal counts include two for perjury.
A lawyer for Giuffre and a spokesman for Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Excerpts from Maxwell’s deposition were made public last August. Her lawyers are also seeking civil contempt proceedings against Giuffre.
Maxwell, 58, pleaded not guilty on July 14 to helping Epstein recruit and eventually abuse three girls in the 1990s, and committing perjury by denying her involvement under oath.
She is being held in a Brooklyn jail after the judge overseeing the criminal case called her a flight risk.
Maxwell’s trial is scheduled for July 2021.