Jeffrey Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell is the subject of a new documentary on Netflix, which explores how Maxwell reportedly helped recruit young girls that were sexually abused and exploited by Epstein. In Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy Rich, viewers can hear testimonials from women who were victimized by Maxwell and Epstein to better understand how the duo managed to pull their terrible crimes off.
In the documentary, which drops on Nov. 27, witnesses explain that Maxwell was basically a madam (i.e. an agent for prostitutes), and that she used her social connections to procure women for Epstein, her ex-boyfriend, along with several other high-powered men.
The doc echoes in part allegations made by the previously released Netflix documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, which outlines in disturbing detail how the late high society financier Jeffrey Epstein engaged in sex trafficking and sexual assault on multiple occasions.
Maxwell has since been arrested in New Hampshire in 2020 as part of the ongoing federal investigation into Epstein’s child sex trafficking operation, according to The New York Times. Epstein died by suicide in jail while awaiting trial, while Maxwell was charged in court and sent to prison for her role in the crimes.
But who is she, again? Here’s what you need to know about Epstein’s former confidant.
She’s a socialite with a ton of connections.
Maxwell is usually described as a British socialite and heiress. She’s the daughter of Robert Maxwell, a media tycoon who owned a slew of publishing companies, including the Daily Mirror. Maxwell ran with an influential group and has been pictured next to Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg, and Elon Musk, according to The Guardian. She also reportedly has connections to the British royal family.
She used to date Epstein.
Maxwell and Epstein dated at some point in the ‘90s and the two stayed friends after they broke up. Epstein even called Maxwell his “best friend” in a Vanity Fair profile.
She’s super outgoing.
“She was always the most interesting, the most vivacious, the most unusual person in any room,” the Vanity Fair profile said of Maxwell. “Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else’s I can think of.”
She went to Oxford.
She went to the UK’s swanky Oxford University, and she can reportedly fly a helicopter and pilot a submarine, according to The Guardian. She also speaks four languages.
She was arrested for her association with Epstein's crimes.
Maxwell was arrested back in 2020 on charges that she conspired with Epstein to sexually abuse minors, according to NBC 4. She was also accused of grooming teenage girls for sex with rich and powerful men, and her name came up in a 2015 lawsuit from one of those teenagers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Maxwell denied she did anything wrong.
“I understand newspapers need stories to sell copies,” Maxwell said in a statement in 2011. “It is well known that certain newspapers live by the adage, ‘Why let the truth get in the way of a good story.’ However, the allegations made against me are abhorrent and entirely untrue and I ask that they stop.”
She was MIA after Epstein’s death.
Maxwell wasn't seen in public for a long time after Epstein’s death in August of 2019, although speculation swirled that she would be arrested, NBC 4 said.
Her trial brought up disturbing allegations.
Maxwell’s trial lasted for a month, per the Associated Press, and featured stories of girls as young as 14 who were sexually exploited. Four women who were exploited came forward to tell their stories.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) details that, from at least 1994 until 2004, Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and participated in Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18.”
The DOJ says that Maxwell “enticed and groomed” underage girls to be abused in several ways. She “attempted to befriend certain victims by asking them about their lives, their schools, and their families, and taking them to the movies or on shopping trips.” She also was around Epstein when he interacted with the girls to make them feel more comfortable.
And when Epstein offered to pay for travel or education for some victims, Maxwell encouraged them to accept his offers, the DOJ explained. “As a result, victims were made to feel indebted and believed that Maxwell and Epstein were trying to help them. Maxwell also normalized and facilitated sexual abuse for a victim by discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when the victim was undressed, and encouraging the victim to massage Epstein.”
Her actions “left minor victims vulnerable and susceptible to sexual abuse by Epstein,” the DOJ adds, noting that Maxwell was "present for certain sexual encounters between minor victims and Epstein," including interactions where a minor "was undressed, and ultimately was present for sex acts perpetrated by Epstein on minor victims.”
Victims, the DOJ says, were “subjected to sexual abuse" from Epstein including touching their breasts and genitals and placing sex toys on their genitals.
She’s now sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in jail in late June of 2022 after being convicted in December 2021 on charges that she trafficked several girls to Epstein for sex, and sexually abused several of them herself, per the United States Department of Justice.
“Today’s sentence holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement after her sentencing. “This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice. We again express our gratitude to Epstein and Maxwell’s victims for their courage in coming forward, in testifying at trial, and in sharing their stories as part of today’s sentencing.”
Where is she now?
Maxwell is currently serving her sentence in FCI Tallahassee, according to the Associated Press, which is in Florida.
The facility has about 820 male and female inmates. It gives inmates access to a range of classes and activities, like painting, leather, art and ceramics, musical instruments, team sports like softball, basketball, and volleyball, and yoga, Pilates, and movies.
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