Transcripts: Epstein’s ex-girlfriend combative and defensive

Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein. (John Minchillo, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend denied introducing Britain’s Prince Andrew to underage sex partners in a defensive and combative deposition made public Thursday, calling the prince's accuser an “awful fantasist.”

“Are we tallying all the lies?” Ghislaine Maxwell asked during the 2016 deposition, saying she could not recall taking Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre out for a night of clubbing with Andrew in London. “Her tissue of lies is extremely hard to pick apart what is true and what isn’t.”

The exchange was contained in over 400 pages of transcript ordered released by U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska in a lawsuit. Many names and several pages in the deposition were blacked out, though information around some names, including the prince's, made it obvious who was being referenced.

Also, Slate first reported that it could decipher some names, including some redactions involving Andrew and ex-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, by analyzing the alphabetized listings in a deposition transcript index and matching them with already public information.

In the deposition, Maxwell said she had flown on Epstein's private planes with Clinton but refused to label Epstein and Clinton as friends. There appeared to be no mention of President Donald Trump, who told a news conference this summer after Maxwell's arrest: “I just wish her well, frankly.”

Clinton and Trump both have said they hadn't seen Epstein in years and knew nothing of his alleged misconduct.

Maxwell, 58, has been charged with recruiting three underage girls in the 1990s for Epstein, a wealthy financier who killed himself in jail in 2019, to sexually abuse and committing perjury in the depositions, though the charges don't relate to the prince. She has pleaded not guilty.

A message seeking comment was left with lawyers for Maxwell.

Maxwell parried a long list of inquiries about Epstein’s sexual proclivities and her interactions with Giuffre and other young women, insisting she never saw him have sex with anybody.

“She is an absolute total liar and you all know she lied on multiple things and that is just one other disgusting thing she added,” Maxwell said, denying having three-way sex with Epstein and Giuffre.

“I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever,” Maxwell said. The implication that she recruited girls or women to be sexually abused by Epstein was “repulsive," she said.

Giuffre has accused Epstein of arranging for her to have sexual encounters with numerous wealthy and influential men, including Andrew. He and the other men have denied her allegations.

Maxwell repeatedly denied hiring anyone under age 18 for Epstein.

As for whether she was Epstein's girlfriend after meeting him in 1991, Maxwell called it a “tricky question.”

“There were times when I would have liked to think of myself as his girlfriend," she said, adding later in the deposition that her intimate relationship with Epstein was mostly confined to the early 1990s.

Asked whether it was Epstein’s “preference to start a massage with sex," Maxwell said: “I think you should ask that question of Jeffrey.”

In a deposition of Epstein conducted later in 2016, Epstein mostly invoked the Fifth Amendment, which protects against self incrimination.

“Fifth,” he replied when he was asked if Maxwell was “one of the main women” he used to procure underage girls for sexual activities.

Preska had ordered the transcripts of seven hours of depositions of Maxwell over two days in 2016 released by 9 a.m. Thursday. The judge allowed the release after rejecting arguments that the interviews for Giuffre's 2015 defamation lawsuit against Maxwell would jeopardize a fair criminal trial for Maxwell next July.

Maxwell has been held without bail since her July arrest on charges that she procured the underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 1997.

The 2016 transcripts were among over 2,000 pages of documents being released since a federal appeals court last year began unsealing documents from the since-settled Giuffre lawsuit. She said Maxwell recruited her at age 17 to be sexually abused by Epstein and Maxwell from 1999 to 2002.

The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify alleged sexual misconduct victims unless they decide to tell their stories publicly, as Giuffre has.

The transcript revealed that Maxwell worked for Epstein from 1992 through 2002 and received compensation until 2009, though she said she spent little time at his six residences from 2002 to 2009. She acknowledged that Epstein bought her a car and made a $50,000 donation to her charity.

She said she had hired architects, decorators, cooks, cleaners, gardeners, pool people, pilots and added that “a very small part of my job was from time to time to find adult professional massage therapists for Jeffrey.”

Sigrid McCawley, an attorney for Giuffre, said in a statement that the transcript release was “a long-time coming and a welcome step towards revealing the evidence of the scope and scale of the Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking ring.”

McCawley said the transcript was a small portion of the total evidence that, once made public, would make “clear why Ms. Maxwell and others who enabled Jeffrey Epstein are fighting so hard to keep it concealed.”

The Miami Herald, whose reporting in 2018 brought fresh scrutiny to Epstein's crimes, had argued in seeking the unsealing that Maxwell's fear of embarrassment shouldn't stop the public from learning of “the sexual abuse of young girls at the hands of the wealthy and powerful.”

Epstein was 66 in August 2019 when he killed himself in a federal jail in Manhattan as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.