In 2015, Virginia Giuffre, a prominent victim of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse, sued Ghislaine Maxwell for defamation. The British socialite had accused Giuffre of lying when she claimed that Epstein and Maxwell abused her. It was a few years before Epstein’s extensive history of predation would become the subject of persistent international news, and his name a byword for the misdeeds of the wealthy and well-connected.
Giuffre’s suit was eventually settled; Epstein died in a federal prison in 2019 while awaiting trial; and Maxwell was convicted in 2021 for facilitating her ex-boyfriend’s abuse and sentenced to 20 years in prison. (She has appealed the conviction.) But because of the enduring interest in the broader Epstein saga, reaching as it often does into conspiratorial territory, the scheduled release of previously sealed court documents related to Giuffre’s suit has been touted in recent weeks as a potential reckoning for the powerful men in Epstein’s orbit–the Epstein “list,” as it’s generally referred to on social media.
The unsealed documents, the first batch of which was released on Wednesday, provided little new information about the case and didn’t draw up any such list. They included transcripts of several depositions of Maxwell in which she denies that she committed any abuse or witnessed any of Epstein’s, as well as interviews with Epstein’s accusers who describe his pattern of sexual assault during massages. The documents also offer a small window into Maxwell’s psyche as the legal proceedings that would overtake her life in the years to come began to materialize.
“I am out of my depth to understanding defamation and other legal hazards and don’t want to end up in a law suit aimed at me from anyone if I can help it,” Maxwell wrote in a 2015 email that was unsealed. “Apparently even saying Virginia is a lier has hazard!”
In another unsealed email from that year, Epstein wrote to Maxwell suggesting that she “issue a reward to any of virginias friends acquaionts family” who will “come forward and help prove her allegations are false.”
Another unsealed document offers more context around Epstein’s relationships with Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and Donald Trump–connections that have been dissected at length in recent years. One of Epstein’s alleged victims, Johanna Sjoberg, said in a 2016 deposition that “he said one time that Clinton likes them young, referring to girls.” She recounted that “Andrew put his hand on my breast.” (Andrew has denied this.) She recalled that on one occasion, when Epstein’s plane couldn’t land in New York and instead touched down in Atlantic City, “Jeffrey said, Great, we’ll call up Trump and we’ll go to–I don’t recall the name of the casino, but–we’ll go to the casino.”
None of the three men objected to the unsealing of this document. Clinton and Trump have not been accused of any crimes related to Epstein. A spokesperson for Clinton said in 2019 that “President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York” and that he had “not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida.” Andrew and Giuffre settled her lawsuit last year claiming that he sexually abused her when she was 17.
More documents related to Giuffre’s suit against Maxwell are scheduled to be released in the coming days. Maxwell’s attorney, Arthur Aidala, told NewsNation on Tuesday that she has “nothing to say” about Epstein or the supposed list of names that would be released.