British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday on charges she helped recruit three girls — one as young as 14 — to have sex with financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of girls and women over many years.
According to the indictment, Maxwell, who lived for years with Epstein and was his frequent companion on trips around the world, facilitated his crimes by “helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse” girls.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell has, for years, been 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 58-year-old was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire, where the FBI said it had been keeping tabs on her.
“More recently we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago,” William Sweeney, head of the FBI’s New York office, told a news conference Thursday.
The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, included counts of 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.
“Maxwell lied because the truth, as alleged, was almost unspeakable,” Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said.
She called the charges against Maxwell a “prequel” to charges prosecutors brought against Epstein a year ago.
Messages were sent Thursday to several of Maxwell’s attorneys seeking comment. She has previously repeatedly denied wrongdoing and called some claims against her “absolute rubbish.”
Among the most sensational accusations was a claim by Virginia Roberts Giuffre that Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew at her London townhouse. Giuffre bolstered her allegations with a picture of her, Andrew and Maxwell that she said was taken at the time.
Andrew denied her story and Maxwell said in a deposition that Giuffre was “totally lying.”
He was not mentioned by name in the indictment, and the charges covered Maxwell’s dealings with Epstein only from 1994 through 1997, a period well before his alleged encounters with Giuffre in 2001.
Strauss said she would “welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us,” but did not answer further questions pertaining to these charges and Andrew.
Brad Edwards, an attorney representing Giuffre and several other Epstein victims said his clients were relieved by the charges. “Today is a very good day,” he said.
The indictment focused on Epstein’s alleged abuse of three specific girls at his Manhattan mansion and other residences in Palm Beach, Florida; Santa Fe, New Mexico, and London. Their names were not revealed in court filings.
Source: NewsNet | Epstein friend accused of recruiting girls for sex arrested