The death of Jeffrey Epstein has put a renewed focus on Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite who was a regular presence by Epstein's side for years. Maxwell, though, has been accused of being far more than a party planner or assistant—many of the girls who have accused Epstein of sexual abuse say Maxwell was the point person who coordinated their visits. Now a key question is whether prosecutors will go after her as part of the Epstein investigation. "Any co-conspirators should not rest easy," Attorney General William Barr said Monday of the sex-trafficking investigation, reports the AP. He did not mention any names. Details and developments on Maxwell:
- Where is she? Unknown, but believed to be living abroad, reports the Washington Post. The 57-year-old had a townhouse in Manhattan but sold it in 2016. Her lawyers told a judge the following year she was in London but did not have a fixed address. "Authorities have had trouble locating her," per the Post, and nobody expects her to return to the US on her own.
- No charges: Maxwell has not been charged with anything, and she has adamantly denied accusations that have surfaced against her, notably in a since-settled defamation suit filed by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre. "Virginia is an absolute liar and everything she has said is a lie," Maxwell said in that deposition. (A trove of court documents about Epstein, including from that defamation case, was released Friday.)
- Who is she? She was born in France, educated at Oxford, and reportedly speaks several languages, per the BBC. Her father was newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, whose empire was found to be on financially shaky ground when he died in 1991. His death was ruled an accidental drowning, but speculation of suicide amid his financial scandal has swirled for years.
- Epstein link: Maxwell moved to New York after her father's death and began selling real estate. She quickly met Epstein, and the Guardian reports their brief romantic relationship became platonic as she became more of a confidante and assistant. Eventually, she helped run his multiple properties, and her job "included hiring many people," she said in the above-referenced deposition. "A very small part of my job was from time to time to find adult professional massage therapists for Jeffrey," she testified. "As far as I’m concerned, everyone who came to his house was an adult professional person."
- Accusations: Giuffre says Maxwell recruited her when she was 16 or 17, when Giuffre was working as a locker room attendant at Mar-a-Lago, to become a masseuse. At her first meeting with Epstein, Giuffre says Maxwell "instructed me to take off my clothes and to give oral sex to Jeffrey Epstein." Similarly, she says Maxwell instructed her to have sex with men including Prince Andrew, Bill Richardson, and George Mitchell, all of whom deny it. “My whole life revolved around just pleasing these men and keeping Ghislaine and Jeffrey happy,” Giuffre said in her deposition, per the Cut. “Their whole entire lives revolved around sex.”
- And more: Another girl, Maria Farmer, alleges she was sexually assaulted by both Epstein and Maxwell while in Ohio and says her 15-year-old sister experienced the same thing in New Mexico. Farmer's accusations also were in the trove of court documents released Friday.
(Epstein hadn't been checked on in hours
before his apparent suicide, a violation of prison protocol in his case.)