British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been accused of playing a “critical role” in Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls
She was arrested on Thursday morning in New Hampshire on charges related to an FBI probe into Epstein, almost a year after he died by suicide while awaiting trial for his crimes.
Multiple women have accused Maxwell, of helping to procure victims for the late financier’s alleged sex-trafficking ring. She has denied all charges.
The federal indictment filed in Manhattan federal court charged Maxell with six counts, including enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity. “In some instances, Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims,” reads the indictment.
The Guardian also reported that the indictment “provides chilling detail into how Maxwell allegedly lured minors into Epstein’s orbit.”
"Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then delivered them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them. She pretended to be a woman they could trust, all the while she was setting them up to be sexually abused by Epstein and in some cases, by Maxwell herself.
Today, after many years, Ghislaine Maxwell finally stands charged for her role in these crimes," officials said.
"Today, after many years, Ghislaine Maxwell finally stands charged for her role in these crimes," SDNY officials say during a presser. "Combatting the exploitation of children is a priority of our office” pic.twitter.com/jwhhvxfy4l
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 2, 2020
Court documents allege that Maxwell helped groom girls as young as 14 between 1994 and 1997, saying these encounters took place at Epstein’s townhouse in Manhattan, his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and his ranch in Sante Fe, as well as Maxwell’s own residence in London.
“Maxwell would try to normalise sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, 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 victim and Epstein.”
Survivours of Epstein frequently spoke out of her allegedly enabling and sometimes participating in the abuse, particularly in the Netflix documentary Filthy Rich.
Sixty-six-year-old Epstein faced up to 45 years in prison on US federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges when he died by suicide in August 2019. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
The youngest daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, she was best known as a socialite and heiress prior to the exposure of her role in Epstein’s alleged trafficking ring. With a circle that reportedly included the Clintons (she attended the 2010 wedding of Chelsea Clinton to Marc Mezvinsky) and Prince Andrew, she was a regular at fundraisers, book launches and society weddings, and allegedly introduced Epsteinto these members of the wealthy elite. Her father died of mysterious circumstances in 1991.
She has been an elusive figure, avoiding arrest until the FBI finally caught up with her this week. The US government have deemed her a significant "flight-risk" and says she has gone to extensive lengths to stay hidden in New England since Epstein's indictment including moving twice, getting a new cell phone, ordering packages under a different name, and purchasing New Hampshire residence in all-cash purchases.
FBI on Ghislaine Maxwell arrest: “We learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims continue to live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago. We moved when we were ready"
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) July 2, 2020
US prosecutors have also addressed Maxwell's link with Prince Andrew, saying: "We would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk to us. We would like to have the benefit of his statement. Our doors remain open. We would welcome him coming in and giving us an opportunity to hear his statement."
Related: US authorities ask Prince Andrew to testify in Jeffrey Epstein case
Last December, in the aftermath of a TV interview in which he discussed friendship with Epstein, the Duke of York announced he would be stepping down from public duties, saying the controversy surrounding his "ill-judged" association with Epstein had become a major disruption to his family's work.
Maxwell is expected to appear in federal court this week.
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