Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime confidante of Jeffrey Epstein, arrested – WFTV
On Thursday morning, authorities arrested British socialist Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime confidant of the disgraced financier and accused of child predator Jeffrey Epstein.
Officials confirmed at WFXT that FBI agents took Maxwell into custody at 8:30 a.m. in Bradford, New Hampshire. She faces multiple charges related to an alleged scheme to recruit and prepare girls as young as 14 for Epstein.
Updated at 4 p.m. EDT on July 2: At a dismissal hearing Thursday afternoon in New Hampshire, Ghislaine Maxwell agreed to be transferred to the Southern District of New York to deal with allegations she helped recruit and prepare young girls to be sexually assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein, from 1994 to 1997..
Justice of the Peace Andrea Johnstone placed Maxwell in the custody of the US Marshals on Thursday.
Maxwell waived the right to a detention hearing in New Hampshire. In New York, authorities filed a memo claiming the 58-year-old “was at extreme risk of absconding.”
She is expected to request a detention hearing once she is taken into the custody of New York authorities.
Update 3 p.m. EDT July 2: Prosecutors have asked Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, to be held without bail, saying she “poses an extreme risk of absconding” in a memo filed Thursday in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Authorities arrested Maxwell in New Hampshire early Thursday to deal with allegations she procured and helped prepare girls as young as 14 for sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein was arrested last year on suspicion of the sexual abuse and exploitation of dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005. Prosecutors said Thursday that Maxwell had helped him perpetuate the scheme even earlier, at minus 1994 to 1997.
In the memo filed in court on Thursday, authorities said Maxwell was at risk of absconding due to her extensive international ties and the fact that she has the citizenship of two foreign countries, among other factors.
“In short, Maxwell has three passports, large sums of money, numerous international connections and no reason to stay in the United States and face the possibility of a long prison term,” prosecutors wrote.
If convicted, Maxwell could face decades in prison.
“The urge to flee is particularly strong for this defendant who, at 58, faces the very real prospect of spending a substantial part of the rest of her life in prison,” prosecutors wrote.
Authorities said the evidence in the case included testimonies from victims supported by contemporary documents, archives and other evidence.
Maxwell is expected to appear in federal court by video conference for a remand hearing in New Hampshire at 3:30 p.m. local time.
Updated at 12:45 p.m. EDT July 2: Court records show Ghislaine Maxwell, who was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse young girls for years, is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a removal hearing.
Maxwell is expected to appear by video conference for the hearing before Justice of the Peace Andrea Johnstone at 3:30 p.m. local time.
Authorities arrested Maxwell in New Hampshire to face federal charges in New York.
Updated at 12:40 p.m. EDT on July 2: Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Thursday that the investigation into those who allegedly conspired with Jeffrey Epstein in a sex trafficking project involving young girls “remains underway.”
Earlier Thursday, authorities arrested Ghislaine Maxwell in what Strauss called “the prequel to the first case we brought against Jeffrey Epstein.”
Authorities arrested Epstein in July 2019 on federal sex trafficking charges, accusing the financier of sexually abusing and exploiting dozens of girls as young as 14 between 2002 and 2005. He committed suicide in August 2019 in awaiting trial.
Strauss said Thursday that prior to that, at least from 1994 to 1997, “Maxwell had played a pivotal role in helping Epstein identify, befriend, and prepare underage victims for abuse.”
“In some cases, Maxwell herself participated in the abuse,” Strauss said. “As alleged, Maxwell and Epstein had a method. As a rule, they would befriend these young girls by asking them questions about their life, by pretending to be interested in them. they would take them to the movies and give them out on shopping trips. “
Strauss said that after Maxwell developed a relationship with potential victims, she would try to normalize sexual abuse by discussing sexual matters with them, undressing in front of them, and sometimes participating or being in the room during the event. sexual abuse.
“Maxwell’s presence as an adult female helped put the victims at ease,” Strauss said.
Deputy director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, Bill Sweeney, said authorities were keeping tabs on Maxwell’s whereabouts as they continued their investigation into Epstein’s abuse.
“More recently, we learned that she had slipped into a beautiful New Hampshire property, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims lived with the trauma inflicted on them years ago,” said Sweeney said.
“Like Epstein, Ms. Maxwell chose to ignore the law and her responsibilities as an adult, using whatever means she had to lure vulnerable young people into behaviors they should never have been exposed to and that create lasting harm. ”
Strauss said she would ask a judge to detain Maxwell without bail ahead of a scheduled trial.
Update at 12 p.m. EDT July 2: Authorities are expected to provide more information at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Maxwell has kept a low profile since last July, when authorities arrested Epstein for federal sex trafficking. Prosecutors accused Epstein of sexually abusing and exploiting dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005.
Epstein pleaded not guilty. He was found dead on August 10, 2019, pending trial in what authorities later determined to be suicide.
Original report: In a six-count indictment released Thursday, prosecutors said Maxwell “aided, facilitated and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s mistreatment of underage girls.” She faces charges including conspiracy to induce minors to engage in criminal sexual activity and perjury.
ABC News reported that Maxwell is due in court on Thursday.
Several women accused Maxwell of recruiting them to do Epstein massages, sometimes while naked or partially nude. Authorities said the massages often ended with Epstein’s sexual abuse of the victims.
Prosecutors said Maxwell encouraged some of Epstein’s victims to offer to pay for travel or education opportunities, which made the victims feel indebted to them and reinforced the illusion that they were trying to ‘help the victims.
Authorities said Maxwell “facilitated Jeffrey Epstein’s access to underage victims knowing that he had a sexual preference for underage girls and that he intended to engage in sexual activity with these victims.” . In court records, prosecutors said girls were sexually abused at Epstein’s New York mansion, his home in Palm Beach, Florida, his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Maxwell’s home. in London.
Officials at the Southern District of New York City attorney’s office are expected to provide more information at a press conference on Thursday.
Maxwell has previously denied any wrongdoing and called some of the claims against his “absolute garbage.”
Among the more sensational accusations was a claim by Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre that Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with British Prince Andrew at his London home. Giuffre substantiated her claims with a photo of her, Andrew and Giuffre which she said was taken at the time.
Andrew has denied his story. He was not mentioned by name in the indictment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Check back for more on this developing story.