If, like me, you’ve been wondering why Jeffrey Epstein’s long-time associate Ghislaine Maxwell, who allegedly helped procure and groom children for Epstein to molest, was not under arrest… well, at last she is.
And now I can’t help wondering if, like Epstein, she’ll also have an “accident” before she can testify in court.
Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of disgraced money manager Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested and charged with conspiracy and enticing minors to engage in sex.
Maxwell, the daughter of the late British publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, was arrested Thursday morning in New Hampshire, FBI spokeswoman Adrienne Senatore said. Prosecutors have scheduled a noon press conference in New York.
The six-count indictment comes almost a year after Epstein was arrested on sex-trafficking charges, after his private plane landed at a New Jersey airport. Epstein killed himself in a federal jail in August.
The new case signals that prosecutors are aggressively pursuing allegations that others helped Epstein abuse underage girls. Maxwell, who was close to Epstein for years, has long denied that she was involved in Epstein’s actions.
Maxwell, 58, was a central figure in Epstein’s world before he pleaded guilty in Florida in 2008 to two state counts of soliciting prostitution, one involving a minor. They were pictured together at events in Manhattan. Employees at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, the epicenter of the 2008 lawsuit, referred to her as the “lady of the house.”
From 1994 to at least 1997, Maxwell schemed with Epstein to entice minor girls to be sexually abused by him, according to the indictment. The victims, described as “multiple minor girls,” were as young as 14 years old when Maxwell allegedly selected and “groomed” them by luring them to Epstein’s homes in Manhattan, Palm Beach and New Mexico, the U.S. said.
Maxwell was paid by Epstein to manage his properties and involved with him in a sexual relationship, the U.S. said. Prosecutors included in the indictment a photograph of Epstein hugging Maxwell, as well as shots of homes where they say the assaults occurred.
At least three underage girls who were sexually abused by Epstein are described in the indictment, though not identified by name.
Maxwell is likely to appear in Manhattan federal court in coming days, where a judge may release her on bail or order her held in custody. She will also enter a formal response to the charges, and the judge may schedule a trial date.
Maxwell has been under public scrutiny since Epstein’s arrest last July. Until Thursday, the one-time British socialite had never been charged with a crime, and her whereabouts have been a mystery despite intense speculation. Media scrums formed at locations where she was rumored to be holed up, from an In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles to a mansion on the rocky north shore of Boston.
After Robert Maxwell’s mysterious death in 1991, Mawell headed to New York, where she fell in with Epstein. They remained close even after the couple split, with Epstein describing Maxwell as his “best friend” in a 2003 Vanity Fair article.
Maxwell has been credited with introducing Epstein to the circle of business titans, academics and even royalty that he surrounded himself with. That included Britain’s Prince Andrew, who has said Maxwell introduced him to Epstein. The prince was forced to retire from public duties after a disastrous TV interview in November that did little to dampen speculation about his links to the late pedophile.
Maxwell’s social appearances, including at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, started to wane after her name continued to appear in the depositions and complaints in lawsuits. Virginia Giuffre, who claims to have been a sex slave of Epstein, sued Maxwell for defamation in 2015, and the unsealing of files relating to that case on Aug. 9 made public details of Giuffre’s allegations against Maxwell as well as prominent business and political figures.
According to the indictment, Maxwell would first attempt to befriend victims prior to their abuse, asking them about their lives, schools and families. Maxwell and Epstein would spend time with the victims, taking them to movies or shopping. Some of these outings would involve Epstein and Maxwell together with the girls; on other occasions, Maxwell would socialize separately with the young victims, the U.S. said.
After developing a rapport with a victim, Maxwell would try to “normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim,” prosecutors alleged. She would do this by “discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victims and Epstein,” prosecutors said.
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