Ghislaine Maxwell: How did she meet Jeffrey Epstein and what was their relationship?

She spent decades rubbing shoulders with British royalty and US presidents.

Now British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell will spend two decades behind bars after being convicted of five federal sex-trafficking charges in late December.

Maxwell, the daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, said in a 2016 deposition that she met Jeffrey Epstein, then a wealthy financier, in 1991 through a mutual friend.

During the 1990s the couple socialized with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, as well as Prince Andrew, with Maxwell flying on Epstein's private jets and staying at their homes, before settling in a mansion of her own New York $5 million.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Maxwell first aided Epstein in his sexual exploitation of underage girls in 1994, when Annie Farmer, then 16, claimed she was lured to Epstein's ranch in New Mexico.

She stated in court documents that Maxwell insisted on giving her a massage before Epstein tried to physically restrain her and sexually assault her in a bedroom of the property.

Ms. Farmer sued Epstein's estate and Maxwell, eventually accepting a compensation offer from the Epstein Victims Compensation Fund and dropping her claims as part of that settlement.

However, she has claimed that Maxwell “was a really important part of the grooming process” and that the pair “worked as a team”.

Accusations against Epstein continued to mount, and in 2005, a 14-year-old girl contacted police saying she had been sexually assaulted at his home in Palm Beach, Florida.

Epstein was arrested in 2006 and indicted by a grand jury on one count of solicitation of a prostitute and eventually made a controversial plea deal in state court to avoid federal charges.

After pleading guilty to one count of solicitation of prostitution and one count of solicitation of a minor, Epstein served 13 months in the Palm Beach County Jail.

Maxwell said in the 2016 deposition that after Epstein's incarceration she continued to work occasionally at his properties and maintained her ties to him.

“I'm a very loyal person and Jeffrey was very good to me when my father died,” she said in the 2016 deposition.

“I felt it was a very thoughtful, nice thing to do to help in a very limited way.”

In 2009, Virginia Giuffre sued Epstein alleging Maxwell had recruited her when she was a teenager working at Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

She settled her lawsuit with Epstein after she claimed she and Maxwell made her a “sex slave” for years.

Prince Andrew, Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein (back right, in black/grey tie) and Caroline Stanley (in pink)

(Shutterstock)

However, her claims resurfaced in 2015 when other victims of Epstein filed cases against him and claimed that Maxwell had three times directed her to have sex with Prince Andrew.

Although the case was settled in 2017, New York District Judge Loretta Presca ordered that materials related to the case be unsealed in December 2023.

The documents identify individuals whose names were previously redacted. Those listed include “alleged victims, people not accused of wrongdoing…and absent third parties.” The identification through court documents does not necessarily mean the person was involved in or knew of any wrongdoing by Epstein.

Ms Giuffre also went on to sue Prince Andrew for sexual assault and infliction of emotional distress before that case was also settled in 2022. Prince Andrew has vehemently denied the allegations of sexual abuse.

In July 2019, Epstein was arrested by law enforcement after arriving in New Jersey on a private jet from France and charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

A month later, Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial, with the coroner ruling that the 66-year-old had committed suicide.

Attention then turned to Maxwell, who had a personal fortune of $20 million as well as British, French and American passports and was nowhere to be found.

Almost exactly a year after Epstein's arrest, the FBI raided a remote New Hampshire estate where Ms. Maxwell was found living.

She had “slipped into a beautiful property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims continue to live with the trauma she inflicted on them years ago,” said Bill Sweeney, the FBI's assistant director in New York. as he confirmed her arrest.

Prosecutors say Maxwell refused to answer the door to agents, who were forced to break in and take her into custody.

On December 29, after a high-profile trial closely followed by media around the world, a jury found Maxwell guilty of five federal sex trafficking charges.

He was found not guilty of the first charge, enticing a minor to travel to perform unlawful sexual acts, but the other charges were:

  • Measurement 2: Enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts – a maximum sentence of five years
  • Measurement 3: Conspiracy to transport a minor for the purpose of criminal sexual activity – a maximum sentence of five years
  • Measurement 4: Transportation of a minor for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual activity – maximum sentence of 10 years
  • Count 5: Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking of Minors – a maximum sentence of five years
  • Count 6: Sex trafficking of minors – maximum sentence of 40 years

Maxwell's legal team quickly began working on her appeal and launched a separate bid for a retrial after one of the original jurors spoke to the press and revealed he had a personal history of sexual abuse.

The defense said the 50-year-old juror, who spoke publicly under the first name Scotty David, lied about his story in a pretrial verdict that led to a mistrial, but Judge Alison Nathan ultimately rejected their appeal for a retrial. trial.

Ghislaine Maxwell was eventually sentenced to 20 years behind bars and a $750,000 fine for her crimes on June 28, 2022.

Judge Nathan described her offenses as “heinous and predatory” as she sentenced Maxwell to a sentence that exceeded her own maximum guideline sentence of 19 years and eight months.