17:40 GMT23 November 2020
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    The information is contained within Ghislaine Maxwell's 400-page deposition, made public following a court ruling. Maxwell’s lawyers long objected to the release of the documents, which detail her relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, a financier and pedophile who ran a sex trafficking ring and rubbed shoulders with prime ministers and presidents.

    Jeffrey Epstein told his ex-partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, to offer a reward to anyone who could discredit Virginia Giuffre, The Daily Mail reported, citing unsealed court documents. Giuffre, who testified against Epstein for rape and detailed how she was trafficked as a minor by Maxwell and the financier to London where she was forced to have sex with UK royal Prince Andrew at least on three occasions, sued Maxwell for defamation in 2015. The lawsuit came in response to Maxwell’s statements condemning Giuffre’s accusations against herself and Epstein, which the British socialite claimed were lies.

    Released on Thursday, the 400-page deposition revealed that Epstein and Maxwell actively sought to discredit Giuffre after the latter went public about the sexual abuse and filed a lawsuit against Epstein's partner.

    "You can issue a reward to any of Virginia's friends, aquaints [sic], family, that come forward to help prove her allegations are false", Epstein wrote in an email to Maxwell, dated 12 January 2015.

    The deposition revealed that Maxwell claimed to deny offering anyone a reward, saying “absolutely not” when investigators pressed her on the issue.

    The court documents also revealed that both Epstein and Maxwell discussed their media response to Giuffre’s allegations of rape and sexual trafficking. As a defence posture, the two focused on Florida's age of consent.

    "We should think about the letter to the editor. School can be university. Age of consent in Florida is complex", according to one email. It is unclear whether Maxwell herself wrote these words or if they were written by someone else as she forwarded this email to Epstein.

    Another email written by an unknown individual to Epstein and Maxwell read:

    "If you are 16 years old, a sexual relationship with someone between 18 and 24 is legal in Florida. Two persons between 16 and 24, Florida statute 794.05. A person 24 years or of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony in the second degree. So as soon as you turn 16 you are able to have sexual relations and you can have sexual relations with a minor under the age of 18 until your 24th birthday."

    It's unclear why Epstein and Maxwell required this information, as, if Giuffre’s testimony is true, and as both Epstein and Prince Andrew were significantly older than the minor teen at the time when they had sex with her, the details would heavily affect the outcome.

    Giuffre's lawsuit against Maxwell was settled in 2017, and the British socialite reportedly paid her millions of dollars.

    Why is it important?

    Epstein was arrested in July of 2019 and charged for a second time with running a network that sex trafficked minor girls. He was found dead in a prison cell on 10 August 2019, awaiting trial. His death caused anger among those who claimed to be his victims, particularly after it became known that the convicted sex abuser, who rubbed shoulders with prime ministers, presidents, and royals, was previously put on suicide watch and that the guards tasked with checking up on him failed to do so, claiming that they fell asleep.

    Maxwell is the only person who can shed light on the latest set of sex crimes said to have been committed by Epstein and some of his powerful friends.

    A daughter of a British publishing tycoon, Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine reportedly met Epstein in the 1980s and the two had a romantic relationship for several years. After their break-up, the two remained close and continued to work together. Maxwell is said to have introduced Epstein to many powerful people, including to Prince Andrew, sitting US President Donald Trump and former US President Bill Clinton.

    According to Epstein's victims, Maxwell worked as a pimp for the financier – luring young women, offering them jobs as a masseuse or as a personal assistant to the jet-setting financier. Unsealed court documents from previous cases against Maxwell and Epstein reveal that, in some cases, Maxwell too took part in the acts of sexual abuse with minors.

    Maxwell was arrested by the FBI at the beginning of July and is charged with grooming minor girls – one as young as 14 – for Epstein's sexual use. The woman pleaded not guilty to all charges and is in prison awaiting trial.

    Related:

    'The Real Monster': Maxwell Accuser Claims Epstein's 'Madam' was 'Mastermind' of Sex Trafficking
    US Appeals Court Strikes Down Ghislaine Maxwell’s Attempt to Bar Release of 2016 Deposition
    Tags:
    Virginia Roberts Giuffre, Ghislaine Maxwell, Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein
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