[Reporters for The New York Times are reading the deposition now. This article will be updated.]
For years, Ghislaine Maxwell has been a central but silent figure in a scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein’s long history of abusing teenage girls.
On Thursday, however, Ms. Maxwell’s voice was heard for the first time as a four-year-old deposition was released containing her response to the swirl of claims surrounding Mr. Epstein: a series of evasions and denials.
Stubborn and elusive by turns, Ms. Maxwell rejected almost every allegation of wrongdoing in the 465-page document, denying that she helped Mr. Epstein recruit, groom and ultimately sexually mistreat dozens of young women and teenage girls.
At one point, she was asked 10 times in a row if she believed Mr. Epstein had abused any children — and each time ducked the question.
She also denied that she herself had ever had any form of inappropriate sex.
“I just testified,” she said, “I never had nonconsensual sex with anybody ever, at any time, at anyplace, at any time, with anybody.”
Ms. Maxwell, Mr. Epstein’s former romantic partner, became the focus of a federal investigation into his sex-trafficking network after his suicide in jail last year. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have charged her with conspiring with Mr. Epstein, a financier, in his abuse of minors. As his closest associate, she is believed to have extensive information about him and others who might have been involved.
But her deposition left unanswered the question of who that might be: Nearly all of the names contained within it — except her own and Mr. Epstein’s — were redacted.
Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The daughter of a publishing magnate and a onetime fixture on New York’s social scene, Ms. Maxwell had fought for months to keep her two depositions in a 2015 civil case brought by one of her and Mr. Epstein’s accusers secret, arguing that they contained sensitive personal information. But on Monday, a federal appeals court in Manhattan upheld a lower court’s ruling that one of them could be made public. After a flurry of motions by her lawyers, the deposition was released on Thursday morning.
Ms. Maxwell, 58, was arrested on July 2 on charges that from 1994 to 1997, she contributed to the abuse of multiple teenage girls by Mr. Epstein — one as young as 14 — and in some cases participated in the abuse. She also was charged with lying under oath in the two depositions, which occurred in 2016. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ms. Maxwell’s arrest came almost exactly one year after Mr. Epstein was taken into custody and charged in New York with sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of girls and young women at his mansion in Manhattan, his estate in Palm Beach, Fla., and other locations.
The Maxwell depositions were part of the 2015 defamation lawsuit filed in Manhattan against her by Virginia Giuffre, who had earlier accused Ms. Maxwell of recruiting her as a teenager to become a victim in Mr. Epstein’s sex-trafficking scheme.