Ghislaine Maxwell, the woman suspected of helping Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested by the FBI

Business Insider US
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
  • Ghislaine Maxwell, a British heiress and longtime girlfriend to Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested by the FBI, according to multiple reports.
  • Epstein's victims have alleged that Maxwell procured and groomed underage girls to have sex with the rich and powerful, as well as sexually abused them herself.
  • Maxwell faces charges related to Epstein's conduct and will appear in federal court Thursday, according to News 4 New York.
  • Epstein, a registered sex offender, died by suicide in prison last August while facing charges related to the exploitation of dozens of young girls.
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FBI agents in New Hampshire have arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, a British heiress and longtime girlfriend to Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein died by suicide in jail last August while facing charges related to the sex trafficking of dozens of underage girls. His victims have accused Maxwell, the daughter of media baron Robert Maxwell, of procuring and grooming the young girls to sleep with the rich and powerful in Epstein's circle.

A federal indictment out of the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan, accuses Maxwell of enticing minors to travel to engage in sexual acts, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual acts and perjury.

Prosecutors say that, beginning in at least 1994, Maxwell would befriend young victims of Epstein before the sexual abuse would begin and groom them. She would first talk to them about their lives, interests, and school. After building a rapport, she would start to normalise sexual abuse by discussing sexual topics with them, undress in front of them, and be present during sexual abuse by Epstein, according to the indictment.

The abuse took place at Epstein's homes on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in Palm Beach, and New Mexico. It also occurred at Maxwell's home in London, according to prosecutors.

The abuse of minors would often include having them watch her give massages, including sexual massages, to Epstein and then have them join in. Sometimes they would be nude or partially nude during the massage, the documents say.

The perjury charge stems from lying under oath during a 2016 investigation into Epstein.

Maxwell has laid low since Epstein's death last summer, leaving many to wonder if or when she would face charges for her involvement in Epstein's conduct. Epstein himself was arrested in July 2019.

Linked to power

Epstein, and Maxwell by proxy, surrounded himself with powerful men, including presidents, scientific minds, and royals.

Epstein's private plane took President Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey, and comedian Chris Tucker to Africa to tour AIDS project sites.

President Donald Trump described Epstein in 2002 to New York Magazine as someone who "enjoys his social life" and likes women "on the younger side."

"I've known Jeff for fifteen years," Trump told the magazine at the time. "Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."

Being a "collector" of famous and powerful friends may have been what allowed Epstein to avoid prosecution for sex crimes as long as he did.

Detectives in Palm Beach, Florida, had received complaints of Epstein's behavior with young girls for years. In 2005, they acted on a tip from a woman who said a wealthy man named "Jeff" had molested her step-daughter.

Two years later, he cut a secret deal with then-US Attorney Acosta that granted Epstein immunity from federal prosecution.

Epstein pleaded guilty only to solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution and only served a 13-month jail sentence. He was allowed to leave to work at his Palm Beach office six days of the week.

Maxwell was a key component of Epstein's sex-trafficking operation, victims alleged. Virginia Giuffre, one of the most vocal Epstein victims, has described meeting her at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, and being persuaded to live in Epstein's home. Giuffre has alleged that Maxwell, in addition to Epstein, repeatedly sexually abused her while she lived there.

Epstein was arrested again in July 2019

On July 6, 2019, Epstein was arrested again, this time in Manhattan, for other allegations of sexual abuse.

His attorneys said in court that the charges should be dropped, arguing that the deal cut with Acosta, by then a member of President Trump's cabinet, should apply to the entire United States, and not just the state of Florida.

The legal proceedings were cut short when Epstein hanged himself in his Manhattan jail cell, on August 10.

Even then, Maxwell had not been arrested. She was spotted at an In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles a few days later, but had otherwise been mostly out of view.

This article is being updated.

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