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Where Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s Longtime Companion, Is Now
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Jeffrey Epstein may be dead, but mysteries still surround the convicted sex offender. The source of his vast wealth still isn’t entirely known, nor have many rumors that he may have trafficked women and girls to some of the world’s most powerful men been resolved. And one of the biggest mysteries is Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend and companion, who now faces federal charges that include allegedly enticing a minor to travel in order to engage in illegal sex acts. Maxwell, who’s long denied the allegations against her, still seems to have at least one fan: Donald Trump, who’s publicly wished her well on more than one occasion. But while Maxwell has long been thought of as periphery to the Epstein case, a new Peacock documentary premiering June 24 called Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell, shines the spotlight directly onto her.
Here’s what you should know about the former socialite and friend of two presidents, and the charges she currently faces.
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Maxwell is the youngest of Elisabeth and Robert Maxwell’s nine children, and was born in France in 1961. The family lived in an English mansion, and her father was the founder of a media empire and served in Parliament. Maxwell attended one of the UK’s most exclusive boarding schools and Oxford University. As members of British high society, Maxwell mingled with some of the nation’s most celebrated families, and became friends with Prince Andrew.
Maxwell is the youngest of nine children of a wealthy British family.
Her father Robert died in 1991, after falling off his yacht and drowning. It’s been speculated that his death may have been a suicide, as on the day he died he was due to meet with the Bank of England over the matter of his being in default on millions in loans. After his death, the British media dubbed him the “crook of the century,” when it was revealed that he’d taken hundreds of millions of pounds from his employees pension funds. Maxwell told one news outlet after her father’s death that she felt he was murdered.
She moved to the United States the year of her father’s death, and reignited an old friendship with financier Jeffrey Epstein. The relationship marked a second reversal of fortunes for Maxwell, whose family lost much of its wealth after her father’s demise. In 2000, she moved into a $4.95 million Manhattan townhouse purchased “by an anonymous limited liability company, with an address that matches the office of J. Epstein & Co. Representing the buyer was Darren Indyke, Mr. Epstein’s longtime lawyer.” She was his companion for years, managing his households and introducing him to her society friends.
According to a lawsuit she filed in 2020 in hopes of winning funds from the late financier’s estate, “While under Epstein’s employ, Maxwell was responsible for managing Epstein’s properties located in New York, Paris, Florida, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
“During the course of their relationship, including while Maxwell was in Epstein’s employ,” the lawsuit reads, “Epstein promised Maxwell that he would support her financially. Epstein made these promises to Maxwell repeatedly, both in writing and in conversation.” However, a 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein denied that Maxwell was an employee.
Maxwell is suing Epstein’s estate for money for her legal fees, and for the price of private security, alleging that her “prior employment relationship” with Epstein has caused her to be subjected to death threats.
Maxwell and her father in 1984.
What happened to Maxwell after Epstein’s arrest?
After Epstein’s 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from an underage girl, the two appeared to end their public association. In 2009, accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a civil suit against Epstein accusing him and Maxwell of grooming her into their alleged sex trafficking ring. However, Maxwell remained a fixture in New York society until around 2015. In 2012, she founded an environmental nonprofit called The TerraMar project, which folded in late 2019.
For months, lawyers and members of the press searched for Maxwell. In the summer of 2019, she was photographed at a Los Angeles In-N-Out Burger, though the authenticity of the photo has been disputed. Her New York townhouse was sold in 2016.
“I’ve heard she’s in Brazil, I’ve heard she’s in France, I’ve heard she’s in California,” Lisa Bryant, director of the Netflix docuseries Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, told Esquire in May of 2020. “Who knows where she is, really?”
As her July 2020 arrest revealed, she had been living in a four-bedroom, million-dollar home in the town of Bradford, New Hampshire, which is home to just over 1,500 people. While hunkering down in the small community, Vanity Fair reported that Maxwell spent much of her time consulting with high-priced lawyers. “She speaks to lawyers and blood relatives,” an anonymous friend of Maxwell’s told the magazine. “That is her universe. Defending all of these cases is a full-time job.”
Epstein with Maxwell in 1995.
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What did Trump say about her?
There aren’t a lot of people going on the record with friendly remarks about Maxwell these days—except Donald Trump, that is. When asked by reporters in July 2020 about the charges filed against her, he sent his well-wishes to Maxwell.
“I just wish her well, frankly,” said Trump. “I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach. I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well. Whatever it is.”
He later doubled down on his remarks. “Her friend, or boyfriend, was either killed or committed suicide in jail. She’s now in jail,” Trump said in an interview with Axios. “Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well. I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty.”
Maxwell at a 2016 event.
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Where is Ghislaine Maxwell now?
Though multiple survivors have alleged that Maxwell participated in Epstein’s alleged crimes, she was only criminally charged in July 2020. One thing that long stymied potential efforts to level charges against Maxwell is the infamous 2008 plea deal that Epstein struck with the US Attorney for Miami, Alexander Acosta, which found him serving just 13 months in prison after initially facing charges that could have garnered him a life sentence. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich producer Joe Berlinger described the deal to Esquire as “unprecedented, unheard of sweetheart deal” that “included a non-prosecution agreement for named and unnamed co-conspirators.”
Still, in July 2020, Maxwell was indicted on multiple charges by the Southern District of New York, including perjury and transporting a minor for illegal sexual activity. She has since been denied bail three times, even after offering $28.5 million and to live under the surveillance of armed guards. Maxwell has been held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, a notoriously harsh facility, since her July 2020 arrest.
While her trial was initially scheduled for July 2021, an additional sex trafficking charge was added on in March 2021. On April 23, Maxwell pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking conspiracy and the additional charge, and her lawyers requested that the trial be delayed in light of the newly added charges. On May 11, the judge announced that Maxwell’s trial will begin in November 2021. If convicted, she faces up to 80 years in prison.
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.
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