Jeffrey Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell arrested
by Mike Brest
& Jerry Dunleavy
| July 02, 2020
A woman who was a longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested.
Ghislaine Maxwell, a 58-year-old British socialite, was arrested by the FBI on the East Coast and is expected to appear in a federal court later on Thursday. A law enforcement source confirmed to the Washington Examiner that Maxwell is in the custody of the Southern District of New York. News of her arrest was first reported by NBC New York.
Epstein, a registered sex offender, was arrested in July 2019 on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges for allegedly abusing girls as young as 14. The 66-year-old was found dead in his Manhattan prison cell in August, which the New York City medical examiner determined to be a suicide, raising questions due to his connections with important world figures.
The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan have long been investigating Maxwell as part of its investigation into the sex offender and his enablers.
The bureau focused on Maxwell and anyone else who may have facilitated Epstein in his alleged scheme to exploit underage girls. Epstein was accused of trafficking and sexually exploiting dozens of underage girls over the years, and Maxwell has been accused of helping groom some of Epstein’s victims. Maxwell has denied these claims.
The whereabouts of Maxwell, 58, had been largely mysterious during the nearly year since Epstein’s death. The youngest daughter of British publisher and fraudster Robert Maxwell, she moved to New York after her father’s death in 1991 and became Epstein’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, eventually becoming his alleged right-hand woman.
Prosecutors described Epstein’s yearslong efforts to “entice and recruit minor girls to engage in sex acts with him” and to build a “vast network of underage victims” when they arrested him in July 2019. Epstein's victims have continued to fight for accountability following his death while under arrest, and Epstein’s high-profile friendships, especially with Prince Andrew, as well as with former President Bill Clinton, President Trump, and others have come under increased scrutiny.
As Epstein helped her move through the New York City social scene, Maxwell successfully insinuated herself with British royalty and brought Epstein along for the ride, helping Epstein become friends with the Duke of York, Queen Elizabeth II's second son.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 36, alleges Epstein and Andrew abused her when she was underage, accusing the prince of raping her at Maxwell’s home in London and Epstein’s homes in New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands when she was 17 years old. Maxwell is alleged to have helped Epstein exploit Giuffre and numerous others over the years.
Andrew, 60, claimed he has no memory of meeting Giuffre and denied having sex with her, attempting to cast doubt on the veracity of a smiling picture of himself with his arm wrapped around Giuffre with Maxwell in the background.
British newspapers reported in 2000 and 2001 that Maxwell and Andrew had become great friends and may have been romantically involved. The two met through Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, whom flight logs show Epstein knew and visited in the Bahamas as early as 1998.
The Duke of York invited Epstein and Maxwell to royal residences such as Windsor Castle, visited Epstein’s private island, and stayed at his homes many times over the years, including in 2010 — after Epstein’s prior sex offender conviction.
Attorney General William Barr had warned that the investigation into Epstein’s alleged international sex trafficking conspiracy would continue and any of his co-conspirators “should not rest easy.”