The law firm that represented Ghislaine Maxwell in court is now suing her and her family, saying she owes $878,302 in unpaid legal fees.
Maxwell — the right-hand woman in Jeffrey Epstein's decadeslong scheme of grooming and sexually abusing girls as young as 14 — was sentenced in June to 20 years in prison on federal sex trafficking charges. During the trial, four women testified that Maxwell had helped groom them, and at times took part in the sexual abuse herself.
In a lawsuit filed Monday, which was obtained by Courthouse News Service, Denver-based law firm Haddon, Morgan, and Foreman (HMF) accused Maxwell, as well as her brother and husband, of failing to pay for their services.
Maxwell's ability to pay for representation had long been a concern of the firm, the lawsuit indicates. They previously served as her legal team for civil cases, including at least one brought by an alleged Epstein victim — but after Ghislaine was indicted in the federal case and held without bail, the firm "developed concerns regarding the representation," including ones related to her "willingness and ability to meet her financial obligations."
The firm told her brother, Kevin Maxwell — who communicated on her behalf since she was jailed — that they could no longer represent her. He pushed back, urging the firm to stay on. They said they would if paid a $250,000 retainer, but ultimately accepted Kevin's counteroffer of "$100k evergreen," meaning he would "agree to keep $100,000 in [the firm's trust account on an evergreen basis."
After a few months, the "retainer had been exhausted" and Ghislaine owed more than $140,000, the lawsuit states. Emails to Kevin from the firm went unanswered for nearly a month, until eventually, in January 2021, he promised the balance would be "sorted out tomorrow."
"[But] at the time he made the statement, Mr. Maxwell had no intention of paying HMF in full 'tomorrow' — or ever," the lawsuit alleges.
Over the next few months Kevin "made a handful of sporadic payments" to appease the firm, but "he never brought Ms. Maxwell’s account current, let alone refreshed the evergreen retainer."
In August 2021, when Ghislaine's federal trial was scheduled, the law firm upped its retainer to $1 million due to the previous payment issues. Kevin claimed that Ghislaine's husband, Scott Borgerson, was in control of the funds and responsible for the delays in payment.
According to the firm, Borgerson formed an LLC in December 2019 — just months after Epstein's death — through which he bought multiple properties. This was done "in an effort to shield them from creditors," the firm claims.
As the months went on, the legal fees ballooned. By January 2022, just days after Ghislaine was found guilty, she allegedly owed the firm $956,671. Kevin paid the legal team $143,500 shortly after, "a small fraction of the amount owed ... for the purpose of inducing the firm into continuing to work on post-conviction issues, even though he had no present intention of paying past-due fees or those incurred in the future," the law firm claims.
Kevin promised payment by the end of February, but it never came.
"In reality, Mr. Maxwell would never again make a payment to HMF toward Ms. Maxwell’s balance — which still exceeded $850,000," the lawsuit states.