Ghislaine Maxwell was once a “sophisticated” and “very impressive” British socialite until her affiliation with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein led to her being jailed for sex trafficking.
The daughter of disgraced media mogul Robert Maxwell, the 60-year-old tried to start a new life in Manhattan after his death in 1991 and met Epstein the following year.
Robert Maxwell was found drowned after apparently falling from his yacht – named Lady Ghislaine – off the coast of Tenerife.
His sons, Ian and Kevin Maxwell, who served on the board of the Maxwell Communication Corporation, were investigated after their father’s death for an alleged conspiracy to defraud the company’s pension fund. Both were acquitted of fraud in 1996.
Despite attempts by Maxwell’s counsel to remove her from Epstein, numerous photos of the couple in various exotic locations surfaced during her trial, with images of her massaging the convicted sex offender’s feet suggesting a close relationship.
Her trial in a federal court in New York’s Southern District heard the couple boast of being friends with high-profile figures, including former US President Donald Trump.
With the fortune he made from his financial dealings, Epstein and Maxwell lived a life of luxury jets worldwide. They inhabited the millionaire’s many properties: a mansion in Manhattan, his estate in Palm Beach, a ranch in New Mexico, and its private island in the US Virgin Islands.
Maxwell’s friends also included royalties. She had known the Duke of York since college and introduced Andrew to her former partner, Epstein.
In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Andrew admitted to organizing a shooting weekend for the defendant on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.
In 2000, he was pictured in Thailand attending a “whore and pimp” party with Maxwell.
But a claim that he had sex with Virginia Roberts three times — reportedly once at Maxwell’s Belgravia home — ultimately damaged his reputation.
Maxwell was seen in the background of a photo that apparently showed Andrew putting his arm around the waist of Roberts, aka Virginia Giuffre.
The Duke categorically denies having any sexual contact or relationship with Roberts.
Epstein was convicted in 2008 of soliciting and seizing a minor for prostitution, and Maxwell was arrested on July 3 last year in New Hampshire.
Her trial heard how she summoned a 14-year-old girl to an orgy, groped another teen, and put a schoolgirl outfit in front of another accuser for a sexualized massage with Epstein because she “thought it would be fun.”
Epstein committed suicide in a federal detention center in New York in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
In her opening statement to the jury, Lara Pomerantz, assistant United States attorney, said of Maxwell, “She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them to be sexually assaulted.”
Her counsel, Bobbi Sternheim, who defended the socialite, told the jury: “The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are for things Jeffrey Epstein has done.
“But she’s not Jeffrey Epstein.”
Maxwell denied all charges but was ultimately convicted on five out of six counts by a jury just after Christmas and her 60th birthday.