Has the time come for Jeffrey Epstein’s enablers to answer for his crimes, and theirs? Today’s the day for the once-elusive Ghislaine Maxwell, the girlfriend and alleged chief pimp for the billionaire pedophile. NBC New York reported this morning that the FBI has arrested Maxwell, and that she will get arraigned today in federal court:
Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and heiress who became a confidante of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and was later accused of involvement in his alleged sexual crimes, has been arrested by the FBI, two senior law enforcement sources tell News 4 New York.
She was arrested on the East Coast on Epstein-related charges and is expected to appear in a federal court later today, the sources say.
Spokespeople for the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan declined to comment.
No word as yet on the specific charges, but the FBI and Department of Justice didn’t go to this trouble for a misdemeanor case. The New York Times reports from one source that the case is most definitely linked to the sex trafficking with which Epstein was charged before his suicide, but it’s been a long time coming for Maxwell. Since Epstein’s death in a New York jail, his victims and their advocates have demanded justice from Epstein’s cohort of alleged abetters, and Maxwell tops that list. Practically every victim who has gone public has put Maxwell not only in the loop of trafficking them to Epstein as underaged victims, some have put her in the room during the assaults. A few have named Maxwell as a participant in those, too.
The DoJ and FBI have played it very cool during this time, however, almost as cool as Maxwell herself. While she hid from public view and was rumored to be hiding out in nearly every corner of the world, prosecutors kept mum about their plans for Maxwell. (The arrest took place in New Hampshire, Fox News reports, where there are no In-N-Outs.) The release of documentaries about Epstein and his depravities hiked the pressure to charge Maxwell, but the DoJ still took its time. Did that pay off? We’ll know today when we see the indictment, but one has to figure that the FBI has had more than enough time now to sort through all of the evidence they seized from Epstein and to take depositions from the victims.
While we wait for the indictment, one of Epstein’s victims had a setback yesterday in a lawsuit against Alan Dershowitz. But Dershowitz didn’t do so well, either:
Attorneys for alleged Jeffrey Epstein “sex slave” Virginia Roberts Giuffre were ordered Wednesday to destroy evidence from her case against Ghislaine Maxwell — as lawyer Alan Dershowitz was also denied access to the potentially explosive information.
Manhattan federal Judge Loretta Preska said she was “troubled” to learn during oral arguments last week that Giuffre’s lawyers, from the firm of Cooper & Kirk, had been given sealed records from her since-settled suit against Maxwell, who Giuffre claims recruited her to have sex with Epstein and his pals while she was underage.
The other men allegedly include Dershowitz, whom Giuffre is suing for defamation over his public denials of her accusations, including calling her a “certified, complete, total liar,” and who is counter-suing Giuffre for causing “serious harm … to his reputation, his business and his health.”
“As a practical matter, the Court would be surprised — shocked, even — if Cooper & Kirk was not in some sense ‘using’ the Maxwell discovery in its representation of Ms. Giuffre in her action against Mr. Dershowitz,” the judge wrote.
This brings up one more point to watch with Maxwell. If the DoJ has her pinned to the mat, does she start cutting deals with prosecutors about other Epstein associates? One thing’s for sure — federal prison officials had better put Maxwell under better observation than what they used for Epstein.
Update: The SDNY will hold a press conference on the arrest at noon ET, but NY Mag Intelligencer has this much on the charges:
Nearly 11 months after Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell, his ex-girlfriend and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire Thursday.
“In some instances, Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims,” the six-count indictment says.
The allegations include a conspiracy for sexual trafficking going back to 1994, according to NBC New York.
Update: The indictment is apparently limited to Maxwell’s activities from over twenty years ago, at least in this opening explanation:
Here's an excerpt from the first page of the six-count grand jury indictment against Ghislaine Maxwell.
The FBI arrested her on multiple charges related to the serial sexual abuse of girls and young women by Jeffrey Epstein.
Read more: https://t.co/QcXTQrBRMb pic.twitter.com/kbE5o6WiSk
— NPR (@NPR) July 2, 2020