Anyone who followed the Epstein case closely or watched the Netflix documentary about the disgraced financier who has been allegedly operating a tight-knit sex trafficking ring across the world to some of the most high profile individuals—including himself—knows that his partner Ghislaine Maxwell has been nowhere to be found for years.
Since Epstein’s New York trial and mysterious ‘suicide’ while in prison awaiting the second day of the hearing on 10 August 2019, the world has been searching for his number one co-conspirator Maxwell.
Yesterday, 14 July, Maxwell faced her first hearing in New York, where she is looking at up to 34 years in prison if convicted. During the hearing, conducted over video conferencing, Maxwell was denied bail which her lawyers set at $5 million (£4 million) against her UK property while the alleged conspirator pleaded not guilty.
The federal prosecutors claimed that Maxwell is in very high “flight” risk and should remain in custody and under high-security watch—learning their lessons from the death of Epstein as he awaited his second day of trial.
When she was arrested on 2 July by FBI agents who visited her home, the agents claim they saw Maxwell from the window refuse to come downstairs and begin to flee to another room in the house. Adding that “Agents were ultimately forced to breach the door in order to enter the house to arrest the defendant.”
In response to the judge’s denial of bail for Maxwell, her lawyers claimed that she will be in “high risk of conducting the virus” if she is to await her trial in prison.
Maxwell’s trial will begin in 2021, and she is detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Ghislaine Maxwell was found and arrested on 2 July 2020, in Bradford, New Hampshire, US, on charges that she worked closely with Epstein to sexually abuse and traffic minor girls and women. When she was found, she was living at a secluded, million-dollar luxury home with 156 acres of rural mountainside property, as reported by federal prosecutors.
Maxwell faces charges on several different accounts, four of which are addressing her close relationship with Epstein between the years of 1994 to 1997, during which time she was Epstein’s closest associate and partner. Together, they groomed and sexually abused girls who they knew were minors. According to the indictment against Maxwell, she “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18.”
On Tuesday 21 July, President Trump returned to the White House podium to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic but the conversation took an unusual detour when he offered warm words for Ghislaine Maxwell. After a journalist asked Trump whether he expected Maxwell to go public with the names of powerful men who have been accused in lawsuits of taking part in the sex-trafficking ring that Epstein allegedly ran, the US president said: “I don’t know. I haven’t really been following it too much. I just wish her well, frankly.”
“I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach,” Trump continued, referring to the Florida town where his Mar-a-Lago resort is and where Mr. Epstein had a home. “But I wish her well, whatever it is.”
Born in 1961 outside Paris, Ghislaine Maxwell is the daughter of late British media mogul Robert Maxwell. Maxwell studied at the University of Oxford and is said to speak several languages. She was mostly known as Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, whom she dated for a few years and then continued to work with long afterward, the Washington Post reports.
A well-connected socialite, Maxwell introduced Epstein to many of her wealthy and powerful friends, including Bill Clinton and the Duke of York (who was accused in the court papers of touching a woman at Jeffrey Epstein’s home).
Maxwell is accused of assisting Epstein’s abuse of minors by helping to recruit and groom victims while knowing they were underage. She was reportedly arrested in New Hampshire and is due in court next Thursday (9 July). Maxwell has previously denied any involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged sexual misconduct.
After getting arrested in New York City last year following allegations that he was running a sex trafficking network of underage girls, Epstein died in prison on 10 August as he awaited his trial. His death was ruled as suicide, but many theories were made about the possibility of it being a murder.
Four of the six charges made against Maxwell relate to the years 1994 to 1997, when Maxwell was one of Epstein’s closest associates, according to the indictment. The two other charges are allegations of perjury in 2016.
The indictment says Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18.”
She is now charged with conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, as well as repeatedly lying when questioned about her conduct and relationship to some of the minor victims.
Maxwell allegedly attempted to befriend the minors by asking about their lives and families and then build friendships with victims by taking them to the cinema or shopping. While many of Epstein’s alleged victims have accused Maxwell of bringing them into his circle to be sexually abused by him and his friends, Maxwell has persistently denied any wrongdoing.