Who’s Ghislaine Maxwell?
Ghislaine Maxwell is a British socialite who is known for her association with the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The youngest child of disgraced publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, she moved to the United States after her father’s death in 1991 and became a close associate of Epstein.
Maxwell has been charged with six counts in a new federal indictment for her alleged involvement in the Epstein abuse case.
The arrest by the FBI at 8.30 am local time in the New England state of New Hampshire ended Maxwell’s freedom. Her apparent ease of movement and lack of police questioning or apprehension in the last two years has raised the eyebrows of many observers of the Epstein saga, who wondered why someone so close to him and the subject herself of serious allegations had remained at liberty for so long.
Maxwell, an onetime British socialite, was arrested at home in Bradford, New Hampshire, and could face as long as 35 years behind bars if convicted. July 2nd morning is the biggest development in the investigation of the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and some in his circles since the wealthy financier killed himself last year in a New York jail cell.
Before that, there had been intense speculation that she had been living near Boston, in California, or even abroad, but no confirmed public sightings. A judge ordered her held in jail at least until she appears in court in New York, where she is charged. Her lawyer declined to comment.
Epstein’s high-powered network means there’s potential for a public reckoning that could tarnish top figures on Wall Street, in corporate America and in Washington. Perhaps more important, a trial would at long last give victims a chance to face at least one of their alleged tormentors.
“There is no way for prosecutors to present a case against her without going into all the evidence they had against Epstein because the charges here are interwined,” said Jessica Roth, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Cardozo School of Law in New York. “The original indictment against Jeffery Epstein made it clear that he didn’t act alone and that the government had evidence that other people were also involved.”
Prosecutors described Maxwell as one of the “Villains” at the center of Epstein’s exploitation of girls, saying she lured them into his clutches. She helped “normalize” the sexual abuse by her presence as a mature woman and by simulating interest in and friendship with the girls, Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said at a news conference.
Answers to the questions
She has denied any wrongdoing in Epstein’s mass abuse of his young, female victims. But the 17-page, six-count indictment filed by the FBI charges her with numerous counts of trafficking young women and alleges Maxwell was “present for and participated in the abuse”.
The Duke of York has vociferously and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing linked to Epstein, with whom he spent a lot of time. But he was reportedly a close friend of Maxwell’s and her arrest on such serious charges is sure to at least raise further questions about the sort of company Prince Andrew was keeping.
Epstein’s death was widely seen by his victims as denying them their day in court and the chance to have his crimes fully examined. The extent and seriousness of the charges against Maxwell would appear – if they come to a trial – to offer them a second chance. Epstein had previously agreed to a plea deal in a Florida underage sexual abuse case and then was under extensive investigation in New York when he was arrested and then died.
The British socialite’s arrest in the US is the biggest development in the case since Jeffrey Epstein killed himself last year in 2019
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