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.
The elusive British socialite has been accused of involvement in Epstein’s alleged sexual crimes, and a report by NBC News says she has been arrested on charges related to Epstein. She was reportedly arrested at 8.30am in Bedford, New Hampshire, on charges brought by the Southern District of New York. She is expected to appear in federal court in New Hampshire later Thursday.
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, victims say.
Maxwell is also facing a lawsuit from Jennifer Araoz, who claims Epstein repeatedly sexually assaulted her at his Manhattan townhouse beginning in 2001. At the time, Araoz was 14 and attending New York’s Talent Unlimited High School. She claims Epstein raped her on one occasion when she was 15 years old.
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” Aroaz for Epstein. Maxwell is believed to have contacted Araoz directly to arrange visits to the Upper East Side mansion, the lawsuit says.
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.)
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.)
A tranche of records in the Giuffre v. Maxwell were unsealed Aug. 9.
Epstein committed suicide at Metropolitan Correctional Center the next day.