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Prosecutors pressed to look into Ghislaine Maxwell role in recruiting women ‘years before’ she was charged
Lawyers for a victim of Jeffrey Epstein pressed prosecutors in New York to look into allegations Ghislaine Maxwell played a role in recruiting young women years before charges were brought, newly unsealed documents suggest. A tranche of new files in the criminal case against Ms Maxwell were released on Friday after a judge ordered them to be made public. The release of the documents came as a US judge rejected Ms Maxwell’s bid to dismiss the original indictment accusing the British socialite of aiding the Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls. US District Judge Alison Nathan rejected Ms Maxwell’s arguments that she could not get a fair trial because of a drumbeat of negative media publicity, or was being scapegoated because Epstein was dead. Ms Nathan nonetheless agreed to Ms Maxwell’s request to sever two perjury charges, which would be tried separately. Among the files released on Friday are handwritten notes taken by Amanda Kramer, who was working as a child protection coordinator at the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, during a meeting with lawyers representing Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who alleges she was recruited by Ms Maxwell and abused and trafficked to Epstein and his associates. Ms Giuffre has been locked in civil lawsuits against Ms Maxwell for years, accusing the British socialite of defaming her for saying she was lying about the alleged abuse. One scribbled note, made during the meeting on February 29, 2016, reads: “Ghislaine Maxwell – daughter of Robert Maxwell – head recruiter.” Another makes a note of Stan Pottinger, an attorney for Ms Guiffre, apparently telling her they were aware of “photos of naked girls on Maxwell’s comp (computer).” It goes on: “Maxwell took sexually explicit photos of her (Virginia) regularly. Maxwell gave photo to Epstein for bday @ age 16. Saved on computers. Subp (subpoena) issued for computers.” Ms Kramer writes another note about a police search warrant that had recently been issued on Epstein’s Palm Beach home in Florida, where a “collage of photos included nude girls incl. Clients,” were reportedly found. The lawyers tell Ms Kramer they believe someone tipped off Epstein before the search, however: “Epstein tipped off. All computers were gone.” The claims are not findings but rather unproven allegations, which are disputed by Ms Maxwell. The lawyers, who were working on Ms Giuffre’s civil suit at the time, told Ms Kramer that Ms Giuffre wanted to see Epstein and Ms Maxwell prosecuted. They emailed Ms Kramer later that day to thank her for meeting with them and offered to help with any other information she may need. After the meeting in Manhattan, Ms Kramer spoke to the head of the criminal division for the SDNY about the possibility of pursuing charges against Epstein but nothing came of it. In a later set of notes from February of this year of a meeting between Ms Kramer and officials from the department of justice and the FBI, Ms Kramer is asked about the 2016 meeting. “AK’s understanding was not that the attorneys were hoping SDNY would investigate or charge anyone other than Epstein. No investigation was opened as a result of the February 29, 2016 meeting,” the notes read. In the intervening time, in 2018, the Miami Herald published an investigation into Epstein that revealed the scale of his abuse of young women that spanned the country. It also uncovered details of a so-called sweetheart deal struck more than a decade earlier between the financier’s attorneys and prosecutors in South Florida over prostitution charges. The notes that were unsealed on Friday record Ms Kramer’s reaction to the paper’s report: “AK remembers telling them that she felt terrible reading the Miami Herald series. AK read the article and was very disturbed to read about how the case was resolved in SDFL (Southern District of Florida).” Ms Kramer was no longer working as child safety co-ordinator at the time the Herald report was published. Ms Maxwell was indicted in July 2020 on charges of sex trafficking a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy. She had pleaded not guilty.