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[Readings]

The Puppet Master

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From a deposition of Ghislaine Maxwell taken in April 2016 by attorneys for Virginia Giuffre, who alleges that Maxwell recruited her and other underage girls as part of a sex-trafficking operation she ran with the financier Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on multiple charges in July 2020. Her trial is set for later this year. The transcript was released in October.

sigrid mccawley: Were you ever in a room where there was a puppet?

ghislaine maxwell: Can you be more specific, whatever you are asking me?

mccawley: Were you ever in a room in New York in Jeffrey Epstein’s home where there was a puppet?

maxwell: What sort of puppet?

mccawley: Any kind of puppet.

maxwell: You need to be more descriptive. I don’t know what you mean by puppet—there are hand puppets, all sorts of puppets.

mccawley: Is there any puppet you’ve ever seen in Jeffrey Epstein’s home?

maxwell: Again, puppet, you know, there are lots of types of puppets.

mccawley: Any type of puppet.

maxwell: If you want to give me a description of the puppet, I would perhaps be able to say.

mccawley: Any type of puppet?

maxwell: Can you be more detailed? My understanding of a puppet is a small handheld item you have in a circus. I have never seen that.

mccawley: Have you ever seen a puppet, which is defined as a movable model of a person or animal that is used in entertainment and typically moved either by strings or controlled from above or by a hand inside it?

maxwell: I have not seen a puppet that fits exactly that description.

mccawley: Have you seen any puppet that fits any description?

maxwell: Can you re-ask the question, please?

mccawley: Yes. Have you seen any puppet that fits any description?

maxwell: I am not aware of any small handheld puppets. There was a—I don’t know how would you describe it really—a caricature.

mccawley: Did you put the hand of that caricature on [Redacted]’s breast?

maxwell: I recollect the puppet.


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January 2021