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Jeffrey Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell arrested on sex abuse charges

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By Karen Freifeld, Mark Hosenball and Sarah N. Lynch

Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested on Thursday on U.S. charges of luring underage girls so that Epstein could sexually abuse them.

The FBI arrest of the British socialite is the latest twist in the mystery of Epstein, who went from a high school math teacher to high-flying lifestyle of private Caribbean islands and powerful connections that his victims say allowed him to abuse minors with impunity.

Maxwell, 58, was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire, where she had been laying low since December, the FBI said.

Maxwell appeared briefly by video from jail at a hearing in New Hampshire federal court, where a judge ordered her to face the criminal charges in New York. She did not enter a plea, and bail was not determined.

She spoke briefly, answering "yes" when asked if she knew her rights. Her lawyer, Larry Vogelman, declined further comment on her behalf.

Prosecutors said she was a flight risk and asked that she be detained without bail. They said she faces up to 35 years in prison.

She is charged with four criminal counts related to procuring and transporting minors for illegal sex acts and two of perjury, according to the indictment by federal prosecutors in New York.

"Maxwell was among Epstein's closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old," said acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. "Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse. In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse herself."

Epstein was awaiting trial on federal charges of trafficking minors between 2002 and 2005 when he was found hanged in an apparent suicide while in a New York City jail in August. He was 66.

Previously, he pleaded guilty in Florida to state charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor in a 2008 deal with prosecutors that was widely criticized as too lenient.

The indictment accuses Maxwell of luring the girls beginning in 1994 through 1997 by asking them about their lives, schools and families and taking them shopping or to movies.

Strauss called Maxwell's alleged acts "the prequel" to Epstein's abuse.

After Maxwell won the girls' trust, the indictment alleges, she would try to "normalize sexual abuse" by discussing sexual topics or by undressing in front of them or being present when they were undressed.

Epstein's alleged abuse included touching their genitals, placing sex toys on their genitals and having the girls touch Epstein while he masturbated.

Strauss said the abuse took place at Epstein's homes in New York, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Palm Beach, Florida, as well as Maxwell's residence in London.

Epstein has been linked socially to several powerful figures, from President Donald Trump to former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew.

In June, then-U.S. Attorney for Manhattan Geoffrey Berman said Prince Andrew was evading their efforts to question him about his contacts with Epstein. Berman was fired later the same month.

"We would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us," Strauss said.

A source close to Andrew said his team was "bewildered" by Strauss's comments because they have twice communicated with the Department of Justice in the past month without a response.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in June there were no plans to extradite Andrew.

Investigators identified more than 15 bank accounts associated with Maxwell since 2016 with balances during that period that topped $20 million, according to court documents.

"For years, I feared Epstein and his ring," Jennifer Araoz, who has accused Maxwell of trafficking her for Epstein, said in a statement. "Today, my fellow Epstein survivors and I are able to take a breath of relief, as Maxwell’s arrest means some justice for survivors can exist."

Maxwell, the daughter of late British media magnate Robert Maxwell, has kept a low profile since Epstein's death.

She was an Epstein ex-girlfriend who became a longtime member of his inner circle. In a 2003 Vanity Fair article, Epstein was quoted as saying Maxwell was his best friend.

Since Epstein's arrest and death last year, questions have arisen over how he built his vast wealth, which exceeded $600 million before the recent stock market slump and included two privately owned Caribbean islands, multiple homes and one of the largest mansions in Manhattan.

The case is being handled by prosecutors in the public corruption unit. A spokesman declined to comment on why that unit would handle the case.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

26 Comments

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Prosecutors said she was a flight risk and asked that she be detained without bail. They said she faces up to 35 years in prison.

The Trump/barr Department of Justice will oversee this case. I assume like the late Mr Epstein Ms Maxwell will be placed in a federal facility, which of course would be overseen by the DOJ.

Given the reputations of the so-called 'elite' from around the globe, including prominent US politicians and a so-called royal could be further sullied by what Maxwell might know and tell, it will be interesting to watch whether she'll actually make it to trial.

Rot starts at the top.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Good.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There have been reports that she was not merely a procurer of underage girls for Epstein and famous buddies, but was an active participant in their exploitation. It's bemusing that it took so long to capture her, but the SDNY are famous for getting their ducks in a row and looking before they leap. Trump, Dershowitz and others may be feeling a little anxious. This is not going quietly into that good night. Let's hope for justice for these girls.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The Trump/barr Department of Justice will oversee this case. I assume like the late Mr Epstein Ms Maxwell will be placed in a federal facility, which of course would be overseen by the DOJ. 

Should she be turned over to BLM or Antifa?

Given the reputations of the so-called 'elite' from around the globe, including prominent US politicians and a so-called royal could be further sullied by what Maxwell might know and tell, it will be interesting to watch whether she'll actually make it to trial. 

She will.

Rot starts at the top.

Oxymoron....

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The question.

Is she going to end up like her boss, before she spills the beans?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I'm sure she'll have some interesting stories to tell about all those parties Epstein and Trump hosted together...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUDr_c2PalI&t=20s

More bad news Donald...

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I'm sure she'll have some interesting stories to tell about all those parties Epstein and Trump hosted together...

Ahhh, the time where Trump kicked Epstein out for foundling a young girl at a party.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUDr_c2PalI&t=20s

More bad news Donald

Probably not, now Bill Clinton.....wow.....

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I'm sure she'll have some interesting stories to tell about all those parties Epstein and Trump hosted together...

Ahhh, the time where Trump kicked Epstein out for foundling a young girl at a party.

Sure - Ivanka - that's Trump's - just like he said to Howard Stern...

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/8/13212950/trump-howard-stern-audio-ivanka-piece-of-ass

More bad news Donald

Probably not, now Bill Clinton.....wow.....

Definitely - Trump, Epstein, Clinton - all three perverts...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

No sympathy if the allegations are true, but she is truly being presumed guilty here, right?

No presumption of innocence, no 'innocent until proved guilty'.

Quote: "Maxwell was among Epstein's closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old," said acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. "Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse. In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse herself."

Not even bothering ti use the word 'allegedly' any more? Are some cases so bad that legal niceties no longer apply?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I bet you can all guess why she has been lying low.

How long will she last now she will be in jail, is it the same one they held epstien?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sure - Ivanka - that's Trump's - just like he said to Howard Stern...

Stern? He’s a comedian, the man that called blacks people the N-word for his entire career. I prefer Carlin.

Definitely - Trump Epstein, Clinton - all three perverts...

Hmmm, Trump ans underage girls, not likely, Clinton....oh, boy..

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Sure - Ivanka - that's Trump's - just like he said to Howard Stern...

Stern? He’s a comedian, the man that called blacks people the N-word for his entire career. I prefer Carlin.

Yea, the guy who's show Trump used to constantly go on... Just like here where he made the comment about his daughter...

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/8/13212950/trump-howard-stern-audio-ivanka-piece-of-ass

Definitely - Trump Epstein, Clinton - all three perverts...

Hmmm, Trump ans underage girls, not likely, Clinton....oh, boy..

The Three Amigos....except Trump and Epstein were neighbors...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Trump, Epstein, Clinton - all three perverts...

Well, lincoln, two out of three ain't bad!

How long will she last now she will be in jail, is it the same one they held epstien?

Will it be a scheduling mistake or a faulty camera?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The Three Amigos....except Trump and Epstein were neighbors...

Trump flew on the Lolita Express ow many times? And Clinton? Oh my!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Trump, Epstein, Clinton - all three perverts...

Well, lincoln, two out of three ain't bad!

Just look at all those pics of Trump, Epstein, and Maxwell.... Oh My.....

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/donald-trump-ghislaine-maxwell/

Can't wait for her book....

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yea, the guy who's show Trump used to constantly go on... Just like here where he made the comment about his daughter...

Comment and? There’s a different being comical and engaging in devious sexual acts with a minor or calling blacks the N-word...

The Three Amigos....except Trump and Epstein were neighbors.

As well as Trump not liking the guy according to a lot of reports, makes all sense why he would kick Epstein out of his party.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Can't wait for her book....

Primce Andrew and Clinton seemed very nervous talking about Epstein.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I hope she will tell the truth about Andrew, Trump et al before anything happens to her.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I was sorry to hear about Ghislaine Maxwell's suicide next week.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I think this woman will be watched like a hawk, don’t think anything will happen to her for sure.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I expect another "suicide" shortly. She has too much dirt on too many higher ups.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

She already most certainly has a fatal disease that she just found out about.

Desperation to link to Trump is laughable. She was front and center at the Clinton wedding and Bill was on the passenger manifest more than 20 times.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As much as I despise Trump, one has to agree that there is much more on Clinton, Andy than Trump at this point, at least from what's available to the public.

However this isn't a competition, all the creeps who participated should be put in front of a judge, whoever they are.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

About time!!

She was involved in exploiting minors and is believe to have actively participated in acts.

trump claims to have never met her, despite multiple photographs of them together.

Boy, trump cannot catch a break, can he!!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Bet she has way more dirt on a bunch of lefties and media types than she does on Trump.  He has always been pretty white bread in his dalliances and indiscretions.

I feel some sort of medical emergency coming on, leading to her untimely demise.....

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Be good if she can finally remove the doubt on Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton, and show enough proof to have them both convicted and put away !

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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