Maxwell was Jeffrey Epstein’s close associate and sometime lover and was accused by his victims as being the person most involved in procuring and grooming young girls to be abused by him. Geoffrey Berman was the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York who arrested Jeffrey Epstein and he had said that Epstein’s death in jail while awaiting trial did not mean the end to the investigation. But when US attorney general Bill Barr fired Berman last month for reasons that are still murky, it was not clear what would happen to those investigations. Now Berman’s replacement Audrey Strauss has ordered the arrest of Maxwell and charged her with conspiracy to entice minors to engage in illegal sex acts and also with perjury. Berman had refused to resign as demanded by Barr until he agreed to appoint Strauss, Berman’s deputy and a respected career prosecutor, as his replacement. (You can read the 17-page indictment here.)
Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and close friend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested at a hideaway in a small town in New Hampshire, the FBI announced.
Maxwell was accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges.
The 17-page, six-count indictment filed by the Manhattan US attorney charges Maxwell with a host of crimes, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and perjury.
The court paperwork provides chilling detail into how Maxwell allegedly lured minors into Epstein’s orbit.
After developing a rapport, the documents allege, “Maxwell would try to normalize 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”.
Sometimes, Maxwell would give Epstein massages in front of victims whereas other times, she urged them to give him massages, “including sexualized massage during which a minor victim would be fully or partially nude.” These would often involve Epstein sexually abusing these minors.
Maxwell’s whereabouts had been a mystery to the media but not, apparently, to the FBI.
Maxwell had kept a low profile, and her location was unknown since Epstein’s arrest last July on charges that he abused and trafficked in women and girls in Manhattan and Florida between 2002 and 2005. The search for Maxwell has been the subject of intense speculation, with reported sightings and rumors of her whereabouts popping up across the US and even abroad.
She was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire, at 8.30am. At a press conference in New York, William Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the New York FBI Office, said: “We have been discreetly keeping tabs on Maxwell’s whereabouts.”
He added that authorities had recently learned that Maxwell, “slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire”, continuing to live a “life of privilege”.
Sweeney continued: “We moved when we were ready.”
Epstein’s accusers are glad that Maxwell has been arrested and they may still have their day in court.
When Epstein killed himself, many victims complained that his death had robbed them of a day in court to tell their stories and get justice with a verdict. For some, Maxwell’s arrest appears to offer a second chance of that happening, if it comes to trial.
Epstein accuser Jennifer Araoz issued a statement in which she said that she and other Epstein
survivors were “able to take a breath of relief” after hearing the news of Maxwell’s arrest.
“Day after day, I have waited for the news that Maxwell would be arrested and held accountable for her actions. Her arrest is a step in that direction, and it truly means that the justice system didn’t forget about us.”
If there was anyone who was privy to Epstein’s secrets, it is Maxwell. It will be interesting to see how much she reveals to prosecutors, possibly as part of a plea deal. All those people who were enablers of Epstein and took part in his abuse of minors and were relieved that his death would keep their roles secret must be worried again.