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Ghislaine Maxwell denied seeing Jeffrey Epstein being massaged in New York

FILE PHOTO: Display boards are seen at the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York ahead of a news conference announcing charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein in New York City, New York, U.S., July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein, has testified she never saw him receive massages from anyone other than herself at his home in New York, where prosecutors are pursuing criminal charges that she helped the late financier procure underage girls for sex.

The denial came in a July 2016 deposition that Maxwell gave in a long-settled civil defamation lawsuit against her by Virginia Giuffre, one of dozens of women who have accused Epstein of sexual misconduct.

More than 100 documents from that lawsuit were made public late on Wednesday night in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Lawyers for Maxwell could not immediately be contacted for comment outside business hours.

Maxwell gave the deposition after Giuffre's lawyers deemed the British socialite uncooperative during earlier questioning, where she rejected suggestions she saw Epstein have sex with girls or helped arrange illegal sexual encounters.

In response to questions from Giuffre's lawyer David Boies, Maxwell said she had seen people give Epstein massages at his homes in Palm Beach, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

She said she believed all were professional masseuses, and that Epstein "never had clothes on" when being massaged.

Asked if anything led her to believe she no longer wanted to be around Epstein, she said: "I ceased to be happy in the job and I ceased to be happy spending time with Mr. Epstein." Maxwell said Epstein had become "more difficult to work with."

Portions of the testimony were redacted after U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, who ordered the documents' release, said the more "prurient" details about Maxwell's own sex life could be kept secret.

The redactions included 20 lines of testimony that Maxwell's lawyers have said are the basis for a perjury charge in her criminal case, and which if disclosed could undermine her constitutional right to a fair trial.

Giuffre wants that testimony made public. Preska, who delayed releasing that testimony after Maxwell's lawyers objected, has yet to rule.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom three underage girls for sex in the mid-1990s, and lying about her involvement under oath.

Her trial is scheduled for July 12. Earlier this week, Maxwell asked the judge in the criminal case to dismiss the indictment on several grounds, including that she was shielded by Epstein's 2007 non-prosecution agreement.

Epstein agreed to plead guilty the following year to Florida state prostitution charges, register as a sex offender, and accept a 13-month jail sentence. That punishment is now widely regarded as too lenient.

Among the other materials released on Wednesday were documents referring to Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School professor who Giuffre has said Epstein forced her to have sex with.

Dershowitz has denied her claims, and he and Giuffre have been suing each other for defamation.

Maxwell is being held at a federal jail in Brooklyn, and has been denied bail twice following her arrest last July.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021


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