Ghislaine Maxwell, a former close associate of Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in New Hampshire this morning on charges of sex trafficking of minors. 58-year-old British socialite, was indicted under six counts; four related to sex trafficking and two counts of perjury.
The four counts of sex trafficking related charges are as follows:
- Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
- Enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
- Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
- Transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
The two counts of perjusry charges deal with Maxwell lying under oath in 2016.
Addressing the media, acting US Attorney for Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss said, “Maxwell was among Epstein’s closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14-years-old. Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse. In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse herself.”
Describing Maxwell’s chilling modus operandi Strauss told reporters, “After developing a rapport with the victims, Maxwell then tried to normalize sexual abuse of the minor victim through a process known as grooming. For example, Maxwell would discuss sexual topics with the victim, and undress infront of the victim, or be present for sex acts involving a minor victim and Epstein. Maxwell’s presence as an adult woman helped put the victims at ease.”
The instances of sex trafficking and abuse of minors being referred to in this case took place between 1994 and 1997 and are “a prequel” to the instances that took place in the early 2000s and were brought to light when the Epstein scandal first broke. Maxwell, is the daughter of late British media mogul Robert Maxwell and had many friends in high places. It is alleged that it was she who introduced Prince Andrew to Jeffrey Epstein. However, the Buckingham Palace has denied “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors.” Prince Andrew stepped away from royal duties last year.
Strauss meanwhile said, “We would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk to us. We would like to have the benefit of his statement.”
Jeffrey Epstein, who had been arrested in connection with the case in July last year, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his jail cell in August 2019, while awaiting trial. Meanwhile, Maxwell had not been seen in public since Epstein’s arrest and was reportedly living a life of privilege on a sprawling property in Bradford.
*Feature image from @SDNYnews via Twitter