Ghislaine Maxwell, former Jeffrey Epstein confidant, arrested on sex trafficking charges in New Hampshire
Ghislaine Maxwell is facing six federal charges on sex trafficking and perjury; Bryan Llenas has the details.
Jeffrey Epstein's confidant Ghislaine Maxwell appeared virtually before a federal magistrate Thursday afternoon and waived her right to a detention hearing in New Hampshire, clearing the way for her transfer to New York, where she is expected to be temporarily detained.
Maxwell was arrested Thursday morning on multiple sex-abuse charges, including conspiracy to entice minors to engage in sexual acts.
Prosecutors are expected to ask that Maxwell remain behind bars since she had a "strong incentive to flee," according to a detention memo. The document also showed that Maxwell had three passports, access to over $20 million and international connections, along with posing "an extreme" flight risk.
Epstein's former girlfriend and accused madam was taken into custody at 8:30 a.m. in Bradford, N.H., the FBI confirmed to Fox News. She purportedly had been hiding out in Paris, France, before her arrest.
William F. Sweeney Jr., the head of the F.B.I. office in New York, said investigators had been “discreetly keeping tabs” on Maxwell's whereabouts and recently learned that she had moved to a “gorgeous mansion," a 156-acre property which she purportedly paid for in cash.
Acting U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said prosecutors would be seeking detention for Maxwell.
Maxwell, the daughter of late British media magnate Robert Maxwell, has been accused in civil court filings of facilitating a sex-trafficking operation that brought girls — some as young as 14 — to Epstein's Manhattan home, though until Thursday she had not been formally charged with any criminal wrongdoing.
While there have been reports that there were several others who "facilitated" Epstein's alleged sexual abuse also being investigated, the main focus has remained on Maxwell.
PRINCE ANDREW STILL NOT COOPERATING IN JEFFREY EPSTEIN INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTORS SAY
According to unsealed court documents, criminal prosecutors have charged her with one count of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, one count of enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, one count of conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury.
If convicted on the charges, Maxwell would face up to 35 years in prison.
Between 1994-1997, prosecutors allege 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."
They added, "Moreover, in an effort to conceal her crimes, Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minor victims… when providing testimony under oath in 2016."
Investigators also laid out how they believed Maxwell lured underage girls into Epstein's corrupt world of sex and violence.
They claimed Maxwell first attempted to befriend the young girls, asking about their lives, families, and school. She would also take the minors shopping or to the movies so they would feel comfortable around her and Epstein.
She would then try to "normalize sexual abuse" by discussing sex, undressing in front of the victims, being present when an underage victim was getting undressed, and would often be in the room during sex acts between Epstein and the girls.
Maxwell also would use herself as an instructional guide of sorts, allegedly demonstrating on Epstein what he wanted the girls to do to him, according to the indictment against her.
Investigators claimed Epstein also offered to pay for schooling for the girls and that "Maxwell encouraged certain victims to accept Epstein's assistance."
"As a result, victims were made to feel indebted and believed Maxwell and Epstein were trying to help them," the indictment read.
Why is Prince Andrew not cooperating in Epstein probe?
Author of ‘A Convenient Death: The Mysterious Demise of Jeffrey Epstein,’ Daniel Halper, weighs in on ‘America’s Newsroom.’
The investigators also alleged that Maxwell actively participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims.
Investigators claimed the abuse took place in Epstein's multi-story Manhattan home, his Palm Beach, Fla., estate, his Santa Fe, N.M., ranch and Maxwell's private London home.
Jennifer Araoz, a woman who alleged that Epstein and Maxwell sexually abused her, said Maxwell's arrest "means some justice for survivors can exist."
"For years, I feared Epstein and his ring. Maxwell was the center of that sex trafficking ring," she wrote in an emailed statement. "Now that the ring has been taken down, I know that I can't be hurt anymore."
Maxwell, 58, dated Epstein more than a decade ago and became a member of his tight inner circle until his jail-cell suicide on August 10, 2019.
In a 2003 Vanity Fair article, Epstein referred to Maxwell as his "best friend."
"Day after day, I have waited for the news that Maxwell would be arrested and held accountable for her actions," Araoz said. "Her arrest is a step in that direction, and it truly means that the justice system didn't forget about us."
JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S ALLEGED 'SPY' TIES UNDER FRESH SCRUTINY IN NEW BOOK
Prosecutors also accused Maxwell of lying under oath during a 2016 deposition in a lawsuit about her role in Epstein’s alleged sex ring. When Maxwell was asked whether Epstein had a plan to recruit underage girls for sexual massages, she responded: "I don't know what you're talking about."
Epstein, 66, faced sex-trafficking charges at the time of his death last year and was awaiting trial in a case that, if convicted, could have put him behind bars for several years.
In May, Maxwell won a critical request to delay questioning in a civil suit filed against her on the grounds that her sworn testimony could incriminate her should there be a criminal case against her in the future.
"I'm permitting her not to respond to (written questions) and not to have her deposition," Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman said during her ruling. "Not forever, but at least long enough to let us know whether the claims process is likely to go forward."
Though Maxwell faced multiple lawsuits against her for her role in Epstein's alleged nefarious activities, the May ruling specifically dealt with a lawsuit filed by Annie Farmer.
Maxwell's lawyer, Laura Menninger, had asked the federal judge to stay Maxwell's deposition.
"The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York has publicly and repeatedly announced its 'ongoing' criminal investigation into alleged Epstein 'co-conspirators' on the same topic as (Farmer) alleges in this case," Menninger wrote to the court.
She added: "Denial of a stay, particularly a stay of Ms. Maxwell's deposition, pending [the] outcome of the criminal investigation could impair her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, extend criminal discovery…, expose the defense's theory to the prosecution in advance of trial, or otherwise prejudice the criminal case."
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Farmer claimed both Epstein and Maxwell sexually abused her at Epstein's New Mexico ranch and is seeking damages from Maxwell and Epstein's $634 million estate.
There have been a host of famous names tied to Epstein, including President Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Harvard Law professor emeritus and former Epstein attorney Alan Dershowitz. The men have all pushed back on claims they engaged in illegal acts with the women.
Fox News' Marta Dhanis and Byran Llenas contributed to this report.
Source: Read Full Article