NEW YORK—British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested on July 2, according to the FBI.
Maxwell, who has long been accused of helping groom minor girls for Epstein, had kept a low profile following the financier’s death. Multiple alleged victims of Epstein have accused Maxwell of luring them into his trafficking circle, where they said they were sexually abused by him and other powerful people.
An FBI spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email that Maxwell was arrested at 8:30 a.m. EST in Bradford, New Hampshire.
Maxwell previously lived for years with Epstein and was his frequent travel companion on trips around the world. The accusations against Maxwell had never resulted in any criminal charges, until now.
According to an unsealed indictment, Maxwell was charged on multiple counts including 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 two counts of perjury.
“From at least in or about 1994, up to and including at least in or about 1997, Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” the indictment reads.
Laura Menninger, Maxwell’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment from The Epoch Times. If convicted, she faces up to 35 years in prison.
Following Epstein’s death in 2019, Jeffery Greco, a New York criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor, told The Epoch Times that Maxwell could potentially name others connected to the financier.
“She’s going down. She’s going to take everybody with her,” Greco said at the time. “They are going to ask her, ‘Who else did you provide these girls to?’ I think that she is going to start talking.
“Remember, it’s just pieces to a puzzle, so she may not know everything. But they are going to use her to place the people at those parties, so if she can say, ‘I was there on this date … and this senator and so-and-so was there,’ that will be enough for them to get them involved.”
Epstein often hosted parties at his Upper East Side mansion in New York City. The property, which he moved into in 1996 and has been valued at $77 million, was transferred in 2011 to a company Epstein owned for $0. The seven-story building is located on East 71st Street, between Fifth and Madison avenues.
Nearly 2,000 pages of documents relating to Epstein were unsealed on Aug. 9, 2019, revealing allegations against a number of rich and powerful men. The court documents, from a lawsuit by one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, listed names allegedly involved in Epstein’s trafficking ring and more information on the role Maxwell played.
In a 2016 deposition, Giuffre claimed she was directed by Maxwell to have sex with a number of powerful men.
Maxwell was described in a lawsuit by another Epstein victim, Sarah Ransome, as the “highest-ranking employee” of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking enterprise. She oversaw and trained recruiters, developed recruiting plans, and helped conceal the activity from law enforcement, the lawsuit alleged.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said in a statement that Maxwell herself also participated in the sexual abuse of young children.
“Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, and then delivered them into the trap that she and Jeffrey Epstein had set,” she said in a statement. “She pretended to be a woman they could trust. All the while, she was setting them up to be abused sexually by Epstein and, in some cases, Maxwell herself.”
Epstein was found dead in what was ruled a suicide in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
In an Aug. 10, 2019, statement, then U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said the criminal investigation into sex trafficking and conspiracy accusations against Epstein “remains ongoing.”
Berman was recently fired from his role by President Donald Trump after he refused to step down from his role after being replaced, according to Attorney General William Barr.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.