Ghislaine Maxwell befriended underage girls. She would take them shopping, invite them to the movies and earn their trust before delivering them to her partner Jeffrey Epstein, who asked them for sexual gestures. She “then tried to trivialize sexual assault”, through her words, her presence or her participation in illegal acts. This is what the indictment against the wife of 33 years old, arrested by the FBI Thursday in New Hampshire.
Ghislaine Maxwell faces six counts, in particular of inducing a minor to travel for illegal sexual acts allegedly committed by her boyfriend for several years, Jeffrey Epstein. The latter committed suicide almost a year ago while incarcerated awaiting trial for sex trafficking.
If found guilty, she could spend several years in prison.
Daughter of ex-magnate Robert Maxwell, described as a British socialite, Ghislaine Maxwell was in the crosshairs of the Justice Department in the United States, who had promised to continue his investigation into possible accomplices after Epstein's death. Presumed victims had denounced the role of women in the attacks and some had launched civil proceedings. She has always denied the allegations.
Prince Andrew in embarrassment
The arrest of Jeffrey Epstein, a New York financier well known in high political and social circles, both in Europe and in the United States, had caused many assumptions about possible high ranking accomplices. His hanging suicide in August had fueled conspiracy theories.
A woman said last year that she was forced by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Prince Andrew, when she had 17 years. A vintage photo shows the Duke of York holding the girl by the waist, Ghislaine Maxwell a little behind them. Prince Andrew had denied the woman's allegations, but is again in the foreground now that a loved one of Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested.
“We would be delighted if Prince Andrew came to speak to us, we would like to be able to benefit from his statements,” said Manhattan federal prosecutor Audrey Strauss. New York investigators recently accused Queen Elizabeth II's son of “pretending” to want to cooperate, she added.
Three alleged victims named
Three alleged victims are cited in the indictment against Ghislaine Maxwell for events which allegedly occurred from 924 to 1997, either before the acts for which Jeffrey Epstein had been charged in July 2019, which dates back to the early years 2000. The accused then had an intimate relationship with him and administered some of his properties.
Ghislaine Maxwell witnessed, facilitated and contributed to the assaults on underage girls by Jeffrey Epstein, can be read in the indictment released to the public on Thursday.
She knew that the girls, at least one of whom was only 14 years, would be asked for sexual acts – often as part of massages – and that they had less 18 years, according to the prosecution.
“In addition, in an effort to hide his crimes, Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about his conduct, including questions relating to certain minor victims described here, when he testified under oath in 2016 ”, we read.
She was also accused of perjury.
In a press conference, Manhattan federal prosecutor Audrey Strauss praised the courage of the women who agreed to testify.
– With Agence France-Presse