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Jeffrey Epstein’s confidant Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested by FBI special agents and NYPD detectives from the Crimes Against Children Task Force, and taken into custody at 8:30 am in Bedford, New Hampshire, on multiple sex abuse charges including conspiracy to entice minors to engage in sexual acts, the FBI confirmed. Maxwell is the daughter of late British media magnate Robert Maxwell.

According to the Department of Justice press release, Maxwell, 58, is charged with one count of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, one count of conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, one count of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, one count of conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and two counts of perjury, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

In a press conference this afternoon by the Acting United States Attorney for Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss stated “Today, we announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell, for helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls from the period of 1994 through 1997. Maxwell has been taken into custody early this morning in New Hampshire and will be presented this afternoon before a magistrate judge in the District of New Hampshire. You’ll recall that the indictment against Jeffrey Epstein that we filed in July of 2019, charged Epstein with sexual abuse of young girls from 2002 through 2005. This case again Ghislaine Maxwell is the prequel to the earlier case that we brought against Jeffrey Epstein. As alleged, starting in 1994 until at least 1997, Maxwell had a personal and professional relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell was among Epstein’s closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old. 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. As alleged, Maxwell and Epstein had a method, typically they would befriend these young girls by asking them questions about their lives, pretending to be taking an interest in them. They would take them to the movies and treat them to shopping trips. Maxwell would encourage these young girls to accept offers from Epstein to pay for their travel and their education making these young victims feel indebted to Jeffrey Epstein. After developing a rapport with the victims, Maxwell then tried to normalize sexual abuse with the minor victim through a process known as grooming. For example, Maxwell would discuss sexual topics with the victim, then undress in front of the victim, or be present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein. Maxwell’s presence as an adult woman helped put the victims at ease as Maxwell and Epstein intended this grooming process left the minor victims susceptible to sexual abuse. That abuse included sexualized massages during the minor victim was fully or partially nude. These sexualized massages developed into sexual encounters for which Maxwell, in some instances, was present and participated. Maxwell and Epstein worked together to entice these minor victims to travel to Epstein’s residences”. She continued, “His residences in New York City, on the upper east side, as well as Palm Beach, Florida and Sante Fe, New Mexico. Some of the acts of abuse also took place in Maxwell’s residence in London, England.

Strauss added, “In addition to allegedly enabling and participating in the sexual abuse of young victims, Maxwell compounded her crimes by repeatedly lying in 2016 when she was questioned under oath and we have charged those lies into the perjury countsMaxwell lied because the truth, as alleged, was almost unspeakable. Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then delivered them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them. She pretended to be a woman they could trust. All the while she was setting them up to be sexually abused by Epstein and in some cases by Maxwell herself.

“Today, after many years, Ghislaine Maxwell finally stands charged for her role in these crimes. These charges we announce today are the lastest result of our investigation into Epstein and the people around him who facilitated his abuse of minor victims. That investigation remains ongoing. My office and the FBI committed to do all within our ability to bring justice to individuals who enabled, facilitated, and participated in acts of abuse. Combating the exploitation of children is a priority of our office. We are committed to pursuing and prosecuting those who abuse and exploit minors in this case and in every case”, Strauss said.

Strauss continued, “And to that end, I want to say to anyone who is watching or hears about this prosecution, if you believe you are a victim of Jeffrey Epstein or Ghislaine Maxwell or anyone else who helped them, regardless of when it occurred, or have information about the conduct alleged in the indictment unsealed today, please let us know. You can reach the FBI and access to witness and victims services by calling us at 800-CALL FBI (800-225-5324).”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. stated, “Preserving the innocence of children is among the most important responsibilities we carry as adults. Like Epstein, Ms. Maxwell chose to blatantly disregard the law and her responsibility as an adult, using whatever means she had at her disposal to lure vulnerable youth into behavior they should never have been exposed to, creating the potential for lasting harm. We know the quest for justice has been met with great disappointment for the victims, and that reliving these events is traumatic. The example set by the women involved has been a powerful one. They persevered against the rich and connected, and they did so without a badge, a gun, or a subpoena – and they stood together. I have no doubt the bravery exhibited by the women involved here has empowered others to speak up about the crimes of which they’ve been subjected. Sweeney added, “We have been discretely keeping tabs on Maxwell’s whereabouts as we worked this investigation, and more recently we learned that she slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire. Continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago. We moved when we were ready and Miss Maxwell was arrested without incident“.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said: “The heinous crimes these charges allege are, and always will be abhorrent for the lasting trauma they inflict on victims. I commend our investigators, and law enforcement partners, for their continuing commitment to bringing justice to the survivors of sexual assault, everywhere.

In May, Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman sided with Maxwell on a 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. The judge said “I’m permitting her not to respond to (written questions) and not to have her deposition,” She added, “Not forever, but at least long enough to let us know whether the claims process is likely to go forward.”

Notably, the Epstein case was formerly under the jurisdiction of now-fired US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman. The timing of the Maxwell arrest comes just two weeks after Attorney General Barr removed him from his position. While there have been reports that there were several others who “facilitated” Epstein’s alleged sexual abuse also being investigated, the main focus has been on Maxwell.

Based on the original indictment in the Epstein case which covered years 2002-2005 while Maxwell’s case covers years 1994 – 1997, there may be more arrests and indictments on the way. The difference in the timeline is interesting, and could indicate that Maxwell has further information in the case; information that may be critical to future indictments. Epstein, while awaiting trial on the trafficking charges last year, died while in a federal detention center in New York.