By JAMES HILL, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A federal judge in New York has ordered that a deposition of a co-executor of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate be postponed while she considers a request from Epstein’s alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell to put a civil lawsuit on hold.
Darren Indyke, an attorney whose work for Epstein’s corporations and charities spans more than two decades, was scheduled to be questioned on Wednesday by lawyers for a woman who sued Epstein’s estate and Maxwell earlier this year, under the pseudonym Jane Doe.
Doe’s attorneys have argued in court filings that Indyke’s testimony is “vital” to her case, and contend that he could provide “extremely relevant testimony” about her lawsuit. She alleges in her complaint that she was recruited by Epstein and Maxwell in 1994 and sexually assaulted multiple times by Epstein, with Maxwell’s assistance, over a period of several years in Florida, New York and New Mexico, beginning when she was 13 years old.
But since Maxwell’s arrest last month, Maxwell’s lawyers have sought to put Doe’s entire civil case on hold, noting that the similarities of Doe’s accusations to those of one of the three alleged victims referenced in the criminal charges against Maxwell could impact her ability to get a fair trial.
“While [Doe’s] counsel refuses to state whether his client is one of the three accusers in the currently-pending Maxwell indictment, there exists substantial overlap in the facts and issues between this civil complaint and the indictment,” Maxwell’s lawyer Laura Menninger wrote to the court last week.
Maxwell’s request prompted U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman to pump the brakes, delaying Indyke’s deposition at least temporarily while she decides whether Doe’s civil case should be stayed during the pendency of Maxwell’s criminal case.
Indyke was selected by Epstein as a co-executor of his estate in a last will and testament Epstein signed two days before his death by apparent suicide in jail, where he was awaiting trial on child sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges. Indyke, in his capacity as an administrator of the estate, has been named as a defendant in lawsuits filed by more than 30 women against the Epstein estate.
But in a letter to the court last week, attorney Robert Glassman alleged for the first time that Doe’s legal team has “reason to believe” that Indyke personally has “firsthand knowledge” of Epstein’s relationship with Doe while she was a minor and “even acted on Jeffrey Epstein’s behalf to communicate with [Doe] on several occasions.”
Glassman declined to elaborate on the claim when reached by ABC News. Lawyers for the estate and Indyke did not immediately reply to an email request for comment.
The 55-year old Indyke, who has residences in New Jersey and Florida, has been associated with Epstein for at least 20 years, according to public records and legal filings. His name, along with co-executor Richard Kahn, appears on paperwork as an officer for numerous Epstein-related charities and corporations, including several of the shell companies that control most of Epstein’s vast wealth and real estate holdings around the world.
Neither of the co-executors has been accused of any crimes.
But when Epstein came under investigation in Florida for alleged sex crimes against dozens of minor girls, Indyke lent his voice in support of his employer’s character. In a letter sent in 2008 by Epstein criminal defense lawyers to prosecutors in Florida, in which Indyke is identified as “general counsel to Jeffrey,” Indyke is quoted as crediting Epstein for providing emotional support and financial assistance when Indyke and his wife were struggling to start a family.
“Thankfully, after our fifth cycle, my wife and I were blessed with twin daughters,” the letter quotes Indyke as saying. “Although Jeffrey was adamant that we owed him nothing, Jeffery honored us by agreeing to be the godfather of our children.”
After Epstein worked out a plea deal to serve 13 months in a Palm Beach County jail, Indyke was among his first and most frequent visitors, according to logs kept by the county sheriff. And by setting up a new Florida non-profit company for which he was identified as Epstein’s supervisor, Indyke helped the convicted sex-offender gain approval for a lenient work-release program that eventually allowed Epstein to leave the jail for up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
The delay of Indyke’s deposition is the second time in Doe’s lawsuit that a scheduled session for Indyke has been taken off the calendar. Lawyers for the Epstein estate canceled the first time shortly after Maxwell’s arrest, citing the need to consult with her attorneys and to settle disputes with Doe’s team over a proposed confidentiality agreement before proceeding.
Glassman, Doe’s attorney, has repeatedly accused the lawyers of the $655 million Epstein estate of engaging in “concerted and coordinated effort” to delay her lawsuit and to steer her claims into a private victim’s compensation fund established by the estate.
“They have done everything they can to make these cases as difficult as possible for the victims so the victims feel like they have no real choice but to submit to the fund and postpone the proceedings indefinitely,” Glassman wrote in a letter to Judge Freeman on Aug. 12.
He also accused the estate lawyers of “belittling [Doe]…simply because she is exercising her constitutional right to pursue a legal claim against those responsible for causing her unimaginable harm.”
In a letter response filed with the court, estate lawyer Mary Grace Metcalfe disputed Glassman’s allegations that the estate had belittled the alleged victim as “completely untrue.”
“We have done no such thing, and the inclusion of this claim by plaintiff’s counsel further highlights their lack of good faith in these discussions,” Epstein estate attorney Mary Grace Metcalfe wrote.
Of the more than 30 women who brought legal claims against Epstein’s estate following his death last year, Doe is the only accuser who has declined to put her lawsuit on hold to pursue an alternative resolution via the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund, a voluntary non-adversarial program that began evaluating claims in June.
During a hearing in the case earlier this month, Bennet Moskowitz, a lawyer for the estate, advocated for putting the litigation on hold while Doe submits a claim to the compensation fund, arguing that it was “a very sensible thing to do.”
Freeman will make a decision on Maxwell’s motion to stay the case after receiving written arguments from the parties over the next several days. If she grants Maxwell’s request, all document exchanges and depositions — including Indyke’s — would likely be on indefinite hold.
Maxwell’s criminal trial isn’t set to begin until July 2021.
Glassman told ABC News that Doe intends to oppose Maxwell’s motion and will urge Freeman to allow the case to continue.
“We are disappointed the Epstein Estate is doing everything it can to prevent key witnesses from speaking the truth about what happened to our client and other victims, but we respect the judge’s order and look forward to resetting Darren Indyke’s deposition again real soon,” Glassman said.
Doe’s lawsuit alleges that she is the first known child victim of Epstein and Maxwell. According to her civil complaint, after first meeting them at a music camp in Michigan, a months-long grooming process continued after she returned home to Florida, where Epstein had a seaside estate on Palm Beach Island. Doe’s father had recently passed away, the complaint said, creating an opportunity for Epstein and Maxwell to fill the void.
“Epstein gave himself the name of Doe’s ‘godfather’ while Maxwell acted like an older sister to her,” her complaint said. “They took her to movies, went shopping with her and lounged around Epstein’s estate with her.”
Doe, now 40, alleges the abuse escalated over the next few years as Epstein and Maxwell asserted more and more control over her life and aspirations. Epstein paid for voice lessons, private high school tuition and even co-signed a lease on a New York City apartment for Doe and her mother, according to her complaint.
She claims the abuse occurred at Epstein’s homes in Florida, New York and his ranch in New Mexico, and that she would often travel to those locations with Epstein and Maxwell on one of Epstein’s private jets.
“Epstein’s system of abuse was facilitated in large part by his co-conspirator and accomplice, Maxwell, who helped supply him with a steady stream of young and vulnerable girls,” the complaint said, “many of whom were fatherless, like Jane Doe, and came from struggling families.”
Maxwell was arrested by federal authorities in New Hampshire on July 2 and is facing a six-count federal indictment alleging that she conspired with Epstein in a multi-state sex trafficking scheme involving three unnamed minor victims between 1994 and 1997. She has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail pending a trial scheduled for next summer.
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