His arrest on July 2 was a dramatic twist in the Epstein case. Ghislaine Maxwell, former collaborator of financier Jeffrey Epstein – who was found dead in his cell on August 10, 2019 – is scheduled to appear on Tuesday, July 14, before a federal judge in New York, in the United States. The hearing will take place by videoconference, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wanted by the federal police (FBI), this 58-year-old jet set figure had disappeared since the arrest, in the summer of 2019, of the businessman, accused of multiple sexual assaults on minors . She is notably accused of having “Assisted, facilitated and contributed to the abuses perpetrated”, by recruiting the victims.
Mme Maxwell is currently incarcerated in Brooklyn Federal Prison in New York. Prosecutors should insist that she be kept in detention, without the possibility of bail: “ [Ghislaine] Maxwell has three passports, large sums of money, vast international connections and absolutely no reason to stay in the United States and risk a long jail term. ”, they said.
What is the Epstein affair?
American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has been charged with the sexual exploitation of minors and the conspiracy to sexually exploit minors. In a document released on July 8, 2019, two days after his arrest, the Manhattan Attorney’s Office claimed that he had sexually abused dozens of minors, including some aged 14, between 2002 and 2005.
The assaults, in return for cash, took place at his residences in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.
He is also said to have paid some of his victims to recruit other girls for him. In total, her address book included more than 150 names of women, including minors.
The businessman had already been prosecuted in 2008 for inciting prostitution of minors. Thirty-six victims had been identified. He had then pleaded guilty and thus obtained an agreement with the justice which many observers consider too lenient: he had been condemned to eighteen months of imprisonment in a private wing of the Palm Beach prison and was authorized to go to work six seven days a week for twelve hours. He was finally released after thirteen months.
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell in New York on August 10, 2019; his death was officially classified as suicide.
On August 28, at the invitation of a federal judge, sixteen alleged victims of the financier had been able to speak at an unprecedented hearing, before the closing of the case, rendered obsolete by this death. Most then called on prosecutors to track down his potential accomplices. ” Please please, finish what you started. American victims are ready to tell the truth. He didn’t act alone “, launched Sarah Ransome.
What relationship did Maxwell and Epstein have?
Ghislaine Maxwell, a Briton born in France in Maisons-Laffitte (Yvelines), is the daughter of the fallen press magnate Robert Maxwell. She is a well-known figure of the Anglo-Saxon gotha, a regular at social evenings in London, New York and even Mar-a-Lago, the residence of Donald Trump in Florida.
She met Mr. Epstein in New York shortly after the mysterious death of his father – he fell from his yacht in 1991, and it turned out after his death that he was in debt. She was briefly Mr. Epstein’s girlfriend and later remained his ” best friend “, he confided to the magazine Vanity Fair, in 2003.
She will notably take care of the management of her properties around the world, but it is above all her role in the shadows that interests the investigators. Because Ghislaine Maxwell is suspected of having carried out a real hunt for minors for the billionaire. Young women, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, whom she would have attracted and put in confidence by pretending to be interested in their life, their studies or their family, by taking them to the cinema or by organizing shopping trips.
What is Ghislaine Maxwell accused of?
The indictment issued by the New York Southern District Federal Court, which led to his arrest, contains six counts: four for trafficking a minor and two for lying under oath. Mme Maxwell “Played an essential role” helping Jeffrey Epstein to assault his victims, “She even participated in the abuses in certain cases”, said New York prosecutor Audrey Strauss.
“She was the one who set the traps, pretending to be a woman to whom [les victimes] could trust. “
The charges against them are serious and date back to between 1994 and 1997. During this period, specifies the indictment, Ghislaine Maxwell “Assisted, facilitated and contributed to the abuses perpetrated on young underage girls by Jeffrey Epstein, helping him, among other things, to recruit, prepare and ultimately abuse his victims”.
What is more, specifies the indictment, Mme Maxwell would have “Repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct and her relationships with some of the underage victims in 2016 while testifying under oath”.
It would also have contributed to “Normalize” sexual violence by being present during “Massage sessions” between Mr. Epstein and his victims – by participating in massages and even the sexual violence itself. Some of these sessions would even have taken place in the London residence of Mme Maxwell.
If convicted of the most serious charges, she faces life in prison.
Can Maxwell’s arrest be decisive for further investigation?
Hundreds of pages of court documents, released on August 9, 2019, have confirmed that Jeffrey Epstein has long been a prominent member of the jet set, close to public figures, including U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. .
One of her victims, Virginia Roberts, said she had “Was given to politicians, university professors, people of royalty”. In a chat with readers of World, our New York correspondent, Arnaud Leparmentier, summarized as follows:
“The question is whether there was a teenage sexual predator with a main accomplice and a dozen friends or a generalized plot of the United States, with protection of the powerful, the justice system, the police and the involvement of two presidents. “
Because the death of Jeffrey Epstein deprived the victims of a lawsuit where possible accomplices could have been discovered.
The arrest and implication of Ghislaine Maxwell could help lift a veil on this sprawling affair. Especially since beyond her “recruiting” services, she also made the financier benefit from her thick address book. It was in particular she who introduced him to Prince Andrew at the very end of the 1990s. The name of the second son of Elizabeth II comes up again and again in this file: Virginia Roberts accuses in particular the Prince of having had relations sex with her when she was a minor.
Prosecutor Audrey Strauss said in early July that investigators were still hoping to interrogate him.