Guess who will end up holding the bag after Jeffrey Epstein’s abrupt and ignominious end? Now that the pedophile sex-trafficker is dead, his victims and prosecutors will have to turn their attention elsewhere for justice. And that means Ghislaine Maxwell just went from the most-sought witness to Public Enemy #1 over the weekend:

Together, Epstein and Maxwell allegedly built what prosecutors, police and a growing number of women described as a sex-trafficking operation that crisscrossed the nation to provide Epstein with three young girls a day.

The death of Epstein, the convicted sex offender who authorities said hanged himself in a federal detention center cell in New York on Saturday, leaves those who seek to hold someone responsible for the alleged abuse of dozens of girls with one prime target: Maxwell.

The U.S. attorney in New York, Geoff Berman, assured the “brave young women who have already come forward and . . . the many others who have yet to do so” that “our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing.”

Don’t forget that Epstein took steps in 2007 to keep Maxwell from getting indicted. His non-prosecution agreement specifically covered Maxwell and others from being charged in the crimes, meaning he took the heat — such as it was from Alex Acosta — all by himself. Maxwell ended up facing no consequences at all from helping Epstein mastermind his global trafficking operation in underage girls.

This time around, Maxwell might not have been so sanguine about her prospects. The Daily Mail reported last night that Maxwell had begun negotiating her cooperation with Epstein’s prosecutors, but had not yet cinched a deal:

Ghislaine Maxwell was last night reported to be ready to co-operate with the American authorities in their ongoing investigation into Prince Andrew’s late friend Jeffrey Epstein. …

Thomas Volscho, an associate professor of sociology at the City University of New York who is writing a book about the Epstein case, said that Miss Maxwell was now ‘target number one’ for prosecutors.

‘They are going to want to hold somebody to account and there is going to be enormous pressure on Maxwell as she has been accused of being heavily involved with Epstein,’ he said. ‘I would imagine she is petrified’.

The suggestion that Miss Maxwell, 58, will assist the criminal case presents a further dramatic twist in a story which threatens to do yet more damage to the Royal Family’s public image.

“Randy Andy” is among the lesser subplots at the moment. Now that Epstein has excused himself from oxygenation for perpetuity (or someone else arranged that for him), Maxwell becomes the only top target left. Before Saturday, Maxwell had value to offer in exchange for her freedom, or at least some eventual freedom. She could testify about Epstein’s actions, his victims, and whatever other illegal activities that could be charged, especially perhaps anything since that 2007 non-prosecution agreement. That would have been worth gold to the Department of Justice, which still might have lost a dismissal on the basis of double jeopardy.

All of that is now out the window. Epstein’s death has eliminated all of her leverage, and has enraged victims and their advocates. The only leverage Maxwell might have left is in finding all of the pieces of Epstein’s estate for restitution, and that assumes prosecutors haven’t already used forensic accountants by the boatload to track down every last dollar. One hint that the feds may not need Maxwell to find the money, or that they were playing hardball to get it, is a probe that opened late last month into one of Maxwell’s charities:

A mysterious do-nothing charity founded by Jeffrey Epstein’s socialite gal pal is being investigated by the FBI for possible links to the convicted pedophile, The Post has learned.

The TerraMar Project was incorporated in London and Delaware in 2012, purportedly to raise awareness of environmental and other issues facing the oceans, and exclusively funded by hundreds of thousands in loans by heiress Ghislaine Maxwell, public filings show. …

Maxwell was listed as president of TerraMar, and her Upper East Side home was its official office. She pumped $283,429 into it between 2012 and 2017. In that time, the so-called charity gave out a total of $874 in grants.

It’s chump change, but one possibility is that Maxwell was using the charity to pay off victims. It might be more of a tax dodge than anything else; TerraMar shut down its operations last month with over a half-million dollars in “loans” from Maxwell on its 2017 books.

What might be more of interest to investigators at the moment is where Maxwell is. She sold her townhouse in Manhattan three years ago, and has been in the wind ever since:

According to people familiar with the investigation, authorities have had trouble locating Maxwell, who is believed to be living abroad. Her five-story Manhattan townhouse was sold in 2016 for $15 million by a company that used the address of Epstein’s New York office.

Her lawyers told a judge in 2017 that she was in London, but had no fixed address. Lawyers representing Epstein’s alleged victims said they wouldn’t expect Maxwell to return to the United States anytime soon for fear of being arrested.

And that was just in response to a civil lawsuit from one of Epstein’s victims. We can reasonably assume that some of that $15 million from the sale of her Manhattan townhouse went into a nice villa in a country whose main feature is a lack of an extradition treaty with the US. On the other hand, Epstein himself wasn’t smart enough to make a similar investment, so perhaps prosecutors will get lucky. If you’ve seen this woman somewhere outside of Moldova or Vanuatu, the DoJ would love to talk with you.