US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell said she never witnessed “inappropriate underage activities” by him, according to transcripts of a 2016 deposition.
The testimony was made in a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit brought by one of the late financier’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre.
Ms Maxwell had long fought to keep the testimony secret.
She will go on trial in a criminal case next year and has pleaded not guilty.
She is accused of helping Epstein traffic and sexually abuse underage girls and of perjury for denying involvement in such a scheme when she gave her deposition under oath.
The 58-year-old has been in custody since her arrest in July. If convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 35 years in prison.
What does the deposition say?
Ms Giuffre (née Roberts) sued Ms Maxwell in 2015 after the British socialite said she was a liar.
Transcripts of the 2016 deposition from the now-settled case were released on Thursday under the orders of US District Judge Loretta Preska.
Ms Maxwell’s lawyers had argued that releasing the documents would violate her constitutional right against self-incrimination and could impede her right to a fair trial next year. They said she had believed the deposition would remain confidential.
But appeals judges ruled on Monday that Judge Preska had rightly determined that the public had a right to access the documents, and said arguments by Ms Maxwell’s lawyers were “meritless”.
In the 465-page document, Ms Maxwell repeatedly denies and dismisses numerous allegations, and insists she never saw the financier have sex with anybody.
“I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever,” she said.
Asked if she was aware of any non-consensual sexual acts between Epstein and masseuses, she replied: “All the time that I have been in the house I have never seen, heard, nor witnessed, nor have [had] reported to me that any activities took place, that people were in distress, either reported to me by the staff or anyone else.”
She also said she never hired anyone under the age of 18 to work in Epstein’s homes and never participated in any sexual activities with them.
Asked whether she believed that Epstein had sexually abused minors, she said: “I can only testify to what I know. I know that Virginia is a liar”.
Ms Maxwell also called Ms Giuffre an “awful fantasist”.
Ms Giuffre alleges that Ms Maxwell recruited her as a masseuse to the financier while she was a minor. She says Epstein kept her as a “sex slave” with Ms Maxwell’s assistance.
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Ms Maxwell is the daughter of the late disgraced UK newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, his ninth and youngest child.
Born on Christmas Day in 1961 outside Paris, Ms Maxwell is Oxford-educated and is said to speak several languages,
A well-connected socialite, she is said to have introduced Epstein to many of her wealthy and powerful friends, including Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew.
Friends said that although Ms Maxwell and Epstein’s romantic relationship lasted only a few years, she continued to work with him long afterward, the Washington Post reports.