Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyer once urged her to speak out to avoid what he called “reputational suicide” — even if billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein wanted her to stay silent, court documents released this week show.
Philip Barden, Maxwell’s legal rep in the United Kingdom, minced no words in pushing her to be more forceful in her own defense after they’d issued a brief statement denying accusations she was involved in Epstein’s sex trafficking and labeling accuser Virginia Giuffre a liar.
“I can see why JE doesn’t want this as it may not suit him but he is already toast,” Barden wrote, referring to Epstein by his initials in the 2015 email to Maxwell.
“We can’t let you sit back and be a conspirator by silence,” Barden contended.
Epstein Giuffre had made then-sensational allegations against the financier in a federal court case filed against him by his victims — and Maxwell feared she would come under fire as well.
Maxwell — who was ultimately sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2021 for aiding and abetting Epstein’s trafficking of young women and girls — dithered over what strategy would be best to save herself as she sent anguished messages about being linked to President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and others.
“I am out of my depth to understanding defamation and other legal hazards and don’t want to end up in a lawsuit aimed at me from anyone if I can help it,” wrote Maxwell to her lawyer and publicist in a January 2015. “I am trying to stay out of litigation and not have to employ lawyers for years as I get lost in US legal nightmare.”
“You have to stand up and deny the allegations or be branded guilty by association and that may lead to other investigations and worse…I know what is right to do and that is to shout your innocence,” Barden insisted.
While Maxwell was trying to figure it out, she was also emailing Epstein.
“What did you decide to do?” Epstein emailed her at the time.
“Ask press to investigate whether Clinton was ever there. Challenge the press,” he told her nearly two weeks later.
Maxwell evidently decided not to say anything more but it was too late — Giuffre filed a defamation suit against here nine months later in Sept. 2015.
The emails are part of a trove of papers filed in that lawsuit — which was long ago settled but came roaring back into the news this week as hundreds of documents were made public, in which there were numerous references to Prince Andrew, former President Bill Clinton and Stephen Hawking, among other major figures.
Maxwell is happy about the document dump, said her attorney, Arthur Aidala, who spoke to her Friday.
“All she’s really hoping is that more and more of the documents are going to be unsealed and released because the more that comes out, the more it will show she was wrongfully convicted,” Aidala said.
“What she’s very focused on and what we’re working on is her appeal. These allegations have nothing to do with that… The one thing she’s been consistent about is the more paperwork, the more documents released by the court, the more satisfied she is that she’s on the road to having her conviction reversed.”
Epstein died by suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in Aug. 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.