Thousands of pages of court documents detailing the alleged activities of Jeffrey Epstein were unsealed by a New York federal court on Friday, more than two years after the settlement of a defamation case filed by one of Epstein’s many accusers against the disgraced financier’s alleged right-hand, Ghislaine Maxwell. Despite formal pleas from Maxwell – who was the named as the sole defendant in the 2015 assault, libel, and defamation lawsuit – to keep the filings shielded from the public, a federal appeals court in New York ordered last month that they be unsealed in furtherance of the public interest.
57-year old Maxwell – a British socialite, publishing heiress, and an ex-girlfriend of Epstein’s – found herself on the receiving end of a defamation suit in September 2015 after repeatedly calling the forced sex claims of Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre “entirely false.”
In the suit that she filed in a New York federal court almost four years ago, Giuffre alleged that Maxwell enlisted her when she was just 16 years old to be a masseuse for Epstein. It was not long after she accepted the position that Giuffre says the abuse began. Giuffre alleged that was forced to have sex with the now-66 year old money manager’s prominent associates, including attorney Alan Dershowitz and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, first publicly accused Maxwell of wrongdoing in a 2009 lawsuit she brought against Epstein.
While the case never went to trial (it settled in May 2017, the day before the trial was scheduled to commence), the proceedings up until that point created a mass of filings, rife with information about Epstein’s alleged activities. The total of 167 documents, containing nearly 2,000 pages, remained sealed after the settlement … until last month when a 3-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that, despite Maxwell’s formal objections, the documents would be unsealed in furtherance of the public interest.
Just days prior, on July 6, Epstein was arrested in New Jersey and charged with sex trafficking, in connection with allegations that he molested underage girls at his homes in New York and Palm Beach. It was the second time in just over a decade that Epstein had been hauled into custody; he initially pled guilty and was convicted by a Florida state court in 2008 of soliciting a prostitute and of procuring an underage girl for prostitution for which he served 13 months in custody with work release, as part of a plea deal.
The score of court documents in the settled Giuffre v. Maxwell case, taken together with the federal indictment of Epstein – who is awaiting trial on sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy charges – and a slew of civil cases in which he is a defendant, “describe an enterprise centered on procuring and sexually exploiting young women, and intimidating them into silence,” the Wall Street Journal reported last month.
The recently unsealed documents not only shed further light on Epstein’s transgressions, they draw a number of fashion industry figures into Epstein’s web (even after he was convicted of procuring an underage girl for prostitution in 2008). These include Jean-Luc Brunel, an established model scout and the owner of New York-based Mc2 Model Management, who allegedly supplied Epstein with dozens of underage girls. Naomi Campbell is also name-checked in one of the documents as being in attendance at some of the same events as Epstein and/or Maxwell.
For instance, Giuffre stated in a document attached to a November 2016 deposition of hers, “I met Naomi Campbell at a birthday party of hers on a yacht in the South of France,” an allegation that appears to be corroborated by images of Campbell on a yacht in St. Tropez with Guiffre and Maxwell. She continued on, “She is a friend of Ghislaine’s, but she was a real bitch to me.” Later on, the same document states, “I met famous friends of [Epstein’s], such as Al Gore, Heidi Klum, and Naomi Campbell.” In a statement provided to TFL, a rep for Ms. Campbell denied that the model “ever had a birthday party on a yacht.”
Campbell’s name has been linked to Epstein in the recent past, as the supermodel was listed on at least two flight logs for Epstein’s private plane – one for a trip from London to New York in February 2002 and another in October 2002 from Paris to New York, along with Maxwell and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, among others.
In a separate filing, Giuffre stated that her “whole life revolved around just pleasing these men and keeping Ghislaine and Jeffrey happy,” with “those men” including Brunel, who credits himself as discovering and “molded the careers” of supermodels Christy Turlington and Milla Jovovich, as well as actress Sharon Stone. In an additional document entitled, “Defendant’s Statement of Material Undisputed Facts” and dated January 2017, Giuffre says that she was “forced” to have sex with the famed agent, who agency MC2 currently maintains a board of more than 200 female models.
*The article was updated to include a comment from a representative for Naomi Campbell, as well as a link to imagery that appears to corroborate Guiffre’s allegation regarding a yacht party in France.