Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s closest confidante who hasn’t been seen in public since his death, has been arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire, The Daily Beast has confirmed.
Maxwell was arrested at 8:30 a.m. in Bradford, New Hampshire, on charges brought by the Southern District of New York. She’s expected to appear in federal court in New Hampshire later Thursday.
The six-count indictment against Maxwell, whose arrest was first reported by NBC News, states that she took part “in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein.” From 1994 to at least 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 18-page indictment alleges. The victims were allegedly as young as 14.
Maxwell is accused of enticing “minor victims to travel to Epstein’s residences in different states, which Maxwell knew and intended would result in their grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse.” The indictment also alleges that in 2016, Maxwell “provided false and perjurious statements, under oath, regarding, among other subjects, her role in facilitating the abuse of minor victims by Jeffrey Epstein.”
Their victims were groomed and abused at multiple locations, including Epstein’s mansions in Manhattan and Palm Beach, his New Mexico ranch, and Maxwell’s London residence, according to the documents.
The indictment refers to three survivors, including Minor Victim-1 who was 14 when she met Maxwell. The socialite allegedly groomed the victim from 1994 to 1997 and involved her “in group sexualized massages of Epstein.” Epstein and Maxwell transported the girl to residences in New York and Florida, prosecutors say. The couple abused Minor Victim-2 in New Mexico in 1996. (This accusation mirrors the story of Annie Farmer, who was flown to Epstein’s ranch alone.) A third victim was “groomed and befriended” by Maxwell in London between 1994 and 1995, according to prosecutors.
Maxwell and Epstein would take the teenagers to the movies and on shopping trips, and some outings “would involve Maxwell or Epstein spending time alone with a minor victim,” the indictment states. “Having developed a rapport with a victim, Maxwell would try to normalize sexual abuse” by “discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein,” it adds.
Maxwell “helped put the victims at ease because an adult woman was present,” prosectors say.
After Epstein’s apparent jailhouse suicide, the hunt was on for the deceased financier’s longtime consort whom he once described as his “best friend,” and who was complicit in the sexual trafficking of underage girls, according to his victims.
The 58-year-old British heiress seemingly vanished after the feds busted Epstein, prompting publications to ask: Where in the world is Ghislaine Maxwell? At one point last year, photos surfaced of the upper-cruster at an In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles. The Sun reported in recent weeks that she was hiding out in a Paris flat.
She raised eyebrows in March by filing a claim against Epstein’s estate, arguing the money-manager had promised to “always support [her] financially” and that she was racking up legal bills and paying for private security because of death threats.
Maxwell is a defendant in at least three pending lawsuits, including those filed by Annie Farmer and Jennifer Araoz. Jane Doe’s lawsuit claims the socialite “helped supply [Epstein] with a steady stream of young and vulnerable girls—many of whom were fatherless, like Jane Doe, and came from struggling families.”
According to Araoz’s complaint, Maxwell hired the young recruiter who approached Araoz outside her school and “oversaw the process that lead to the recruitment and grooming of” Araoz for Epstein. Maxwell is believed to have contacted Araoz directly to arrange visits to the Upper East Side mansion, the lawsuit says.
“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,” Araoz said in a statement Thursday. “For years, I feared Epstein and his ring. Maxwell was the center of that sex trafficking ring. Now that the ring has been taken down, I know that I can’t be hurt anymore. Day after day, I have waited for the news that Maxwell would be arrested and held accountable for her actions. Her arrest is a step in that direction, and it truly means that the justice system didn’t forget about us.”
Maxwell—the daughter of the late, disgraced British media tycoon Robert Maxwell—hobnobbed with the global elite, forging bonds with the Clintons (she attended Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in 2010) and Donald Trump. She also partied with Britain’s Prince Andrew, whom she introduced to Epstein. Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex with the prince when she was a teenager. (Buckingham Palace has denied the allegations.)
David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre and other victims, said, “This a great day for justice.”
“Our clients are very pleased, and very grateful, to the prosecutors, that this important step has been taken towards bringing to justice Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators,” Boies told The Daily Beast in a statement. “Jeffrey Epstein did not act alone, and could not have engaged his sex trafficking system without the help and support of others. Ghislaine Maxwell’s indictment for her perjury in our civil case against her should answer once and for all who is telling the truth.”
Spencer T. Kuvin, an attorney for a number of Epstein’s victims, said her arrest and prosecution brings “this sad story full circle to a close.” “We are proud of the FBI and the States’ Attorney’s office for their voracious investigation, and the victims are again hopeful that the justice system will hold these people accountable,” he added. “We will now wait and see if this holds true.”
After her father’s death in 1991, Maxwell moved to New York, immersed herself in the city’s social circuit, and dated the mysterious Jeffrey Epstein. Their romance faded, but she became his major-domo, traveling companion, and—according to Epstein’s victims and their lawyers—his accomplice in an international child sex-trafficking ring.
Epstein’s accusers have long claimed Maxwell recruited, groomed, and sexually abused the minor girls who visited Epstein’s lairs in New York and Florida. During their 2005 investigation, Palm Beach cops tried to interview Maxwell but couldn’t reach her, according to unsealed testimony by retired detective Joseph Recarey. (Maxwell’s lawyers pointed out, in one court filing, that Recarey “failed to uncover any evidence” against her and that she “was never considered a suspect by the government.”)
In 2009, Maxwell was identified as a recruiter for Epstein in a lawsuit filed by Giuffre, who was then identified only as Jane Doe 102. The suit was one of many filed by victims after Epstein’s 2007 sweetheart deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami. While cops found Epstein molested dozens of girls, Epstein pleaded guilty to two state charges and served only 13 months in jail, mostly on work release.
Giuffre went public in an interview with the Daily Mail in 2011, and again accused Maxwell of facilitating her sexual encounters with Epstein and Prince Andrew. She told the tabloid that when she was 18, Epstein hinted she was “too old” for him, and that he and Maxwell once suggested Giuffre have Epstein’s child. “They said I would have to sign a contract relinquishing rights to the child and consenting to Jeffrey having as many relationships as he liked,” Giuffre told the Mail. “It was a smack in the face.”
One January 2015 court filing by Giuffre further implicated Maxwell. She said that when she was 15 or 16, Epstein and Maxwell “trained me to do what they wanted, including sexual activities and the use of sexual toys” in New York and Florida.
“Ghislaine Maxwell was heavily involved in the illegal sex. I understood her to be a very powerful person. She used Epstein’s money and he used her name and connections to gain power and prestige,” Giuffre stated in the declaration. “One way to describe Maxwell’s role was as the ‘madame.’ She assumed a position of trust for all the girls, including me.”
But Maxwell allegedly used that trust to also sexually abuse dozens of girls herself and take nude photos of them, Giuffre claimed.
“She had sex with underage girls virtually every day when I was around her, and she was very forceful,” Giuffre stated. “I first had sexual activities with her when I was approximately 15 at the Palm Beach mansion. I had many sexual activities with her over the next several years in Epstein’s various residences plus other exotic locations.”
In response, Maxwell called Giuffre’s bombshell claims “obvious lies,” prompting the accuser to file a defamation suit months later. The lawsuit was settled in 2017, and the Miami Herald took legal action to unseal a trove of thousands of documents in the case. (Epstein attorney Alan Dershowits and right-wing blogger Michael Cernovich also rallied to release certain court filings in the matter.)
Lawyer Brad Edwards, who’s been fighting for justice on behalf of Epstein victims since 2008, told The Daily Beast, “Today is a long time coming. As you read in my book, Ghislaine was an important part of enabling Epstein to do what he did. Our clients are relieved that the SDNY prosecutors are committed to holding everyone accountable.”
Sigrid McCawley an attorney for Giuffre and other Epstein survivors, said, “The victims of Ghislaine Maxwell breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this sexual predator who not only engaged in sexual abuse herself but also assisted Jeffrey Epstein for decades in running his sexual trafficking scheme is behind bars.”
“The pain she has caused will never go away but today is a step toward healing,” she added. “I am so proud of the women we have represented over the last six years who never gave up fighting for justice. Today we saw prosecutors who had unrelenting courage work to take down a sexual trafficking scheme. Today is also a powerful message to all Epstein accomplices that justice will prevail.”