Unsealed documents detail alleged Epstein victim’s recruitment at Mar-a-Lago

Source: Politico | August 9, 2019 | Josh Gerstein

A trove of court documents unsealed Friday detail allegations by an alleged victim of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein that while working as a teenage locker room attendant at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort nearly two decades ago she was recruited to give Epstein massages that often involved sexual activity.

The roughly 2,000 pages of records released by the Manhattan-based 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals also show the same woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, appears to have claimed she had sex with a series of prominent men — including former politicians — at Epstein’s direction while working as a staff masseuse for the investment adviser, who eventually came under investigation in 2006 for sex trafficking over his involvement with teenage girls.

That probe wound up in a controversial plea deal where federal prosecutors in Florida agreed not to file charges against Epstein in exchange for him pleading guilty in 2008 to two state prostitution-related felonies. He served only about 13 months in county jail, much of it with permission to work from his office during the day.

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In deposition excerpts made public Friday, Giuffre said she was working as a spa attendant at Mar-a-Lago in 2000 when she was approached by Epstein’s longtime friend Ghislaine Maxwell about giving massages to the wealthy investor, who owned a mansion in Palm Beach not far from the Trump resort.

“Where in the spa were you when you were approached by Ghislaine Maxwell?” Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger asked at a May 2016 deposition.

“Just outside the locker room, sitting where the other girl who works there usually sits,” Giuffre replied. “I was reading a book on massage therapy. … She noticed I was reading the massage book. And I started to have chitchat with her just about, you know, the body and the anatomy and how I was interested in it. And she told me that she knew somebody that was looking for a traveling masseuse. … If the guy likes you then, you know, it will work out for you. You’ll travel. You’ll make good money.”

During the same deposition, Giuffre said the paid massages often involved sex and led to a more permanent role traveling with Epstein, who had homes on a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in New Mexico and New York. She alleged she was also instructed by Epstein and Maxwell to have sex with Epstein’s friends.

“Name the other politically-connected and financially powerful people that Ghislaine Maxwell told you to go have sex with,” Menninger said.

“They instructed me to have sex with George Mitchell, Jean Luc Brunel, Bill Richardson, another prince, that I don’t know his name,” Giuffre said.

Mitchell and Richardson issued statements Friday categorically denying Giuffre’s claims.

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The documents released Friday come from a federal lawsuit Giuffre filed against Maxwell in New York in 2015, alleging that she facilitated Epstein’s abuse of her and other young girls. Giuffre, like other alleged victims, gave up her right to sue Epstein in exchange for a financial settlement linked to the 2008 plea deal. However, the settlement did not preclude litigation against others.

Maxwell denied the allegations and insisted that she was unaware that any of the masseuses working for Epstein were underage. However, she settled the suit for an undisclosed sum after a district court judge ruled in March 2017 that the case should go to trial.

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