August 20, 2019
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Maine’s George Mitchell denies role in alleged Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking ring

Brian Lawless | AP
Brian Lawless | AP
U.S. Senator George Mitchell gives a speech celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, during an event at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Tuesday April 10, 2018.

A woman who alleges financier Jeffrey Epstein trafficked her for sex as a girl said former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine was one of the men she was asked to visit as part of that trafficking ring, according to court documents unsealed Friday.

Mitchell, 85, denied the allegations in a Friday statement, calling them “false” and saying he never met the woman, Virginia Giuffre, and “never observed or suspected any inappropriate conduct with underage girls” during his time as a friend of Epstein. Mitchell has not been charged with a crime or sued over the allegations.

The episode links one of the most prominent politicians in Maine history to a scandal that has cast suspicion on powerful men who have counted Epstein as a friend, including President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth II.

Mitchell, a Democrat and Waterville native who served in the U.S. Senate from 1980 to 1995, is best known nationally for his stint as a U.S. peace envoy to Northern Ireland and the Middle East as well as his 2007 investigation of steroid use in professional baseball.

Epstein had a documented friendship with Mitchell dating back to the early 2000s. In a 2003 New York Magazine profile, Epstein was paraphrased as saying Mitchell was “the world’s greatest negotiator,” and Mitchell called Epstein “a friend and a supporter.”

Epstein was arrested in July on federal sex trafficking charges that date back to the early 2000s. He had been under scrutiny since a November 2018 report in the Miami Herald examining a 2008 plea deal on state prostitution charges that allowed him to avoid federal prosecution.

The documents mentioning Mitchell were unsealed Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a civil lawsuit brought by Giuffre — who alleges she was underage when Epstein trafficked her for erotic massages and sex — against Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and one-time partner of Epstein’s who Giuffre said recruited her for the ring.

Giuffre mentioned Mitchell as part of one of several depositions submitted as evidence in the 2015 lawsuit. In 2016, she was asked by a lawyer to name “politically connected and financially powerful people” with whom she was told to have sex.

Giuffre responded by saying she was instructed “to go to” Mitchell, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and others. She also alleged Epstein and Maxwell used the word “massages” as a synonym for sex and said of Epstein and Maxwell that “their whole lives revolved around sex.”

Mitchell is named in another newly unsealed deposition in the case by a man who said only that he had seen the former senator while working for Epstein. He makes no further reference to Mitchell and defends another man named by Giuffre. He said Epstein often offered houseguests massages from his workers.

The unsealing of the court documents was previewed last month by Vanity Fair, which linked Mitchell to them and included a statement from him denying the allegations.

Mitchell did not answer a call to his cellphone on Friday, but he issued a new statement to media outlets after hundreds of pages of documents were released. Richardson, Prince Andrew and several others named by Giuffre have also denied the allegations.

“The allegation contained in the released documents is false,” Mitchell said. “I have never met, spoken with or had any contact with Ms. Giuffre.”

 



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