She is mentioned throughout Netflix’s gripping new docu-series about the late financier Jeffrey Epstein. But who exactly is British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell?
UPDATE, 7/2/20, 9:42am ET: Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire on July 2 on charges that she conspired with Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse minors. She’s due to appear in federal court the same day, according to NBC News. Maxwell’s arrest comes 11 months after Epstein’s death by apparent suicide in his jail cell as he awaited trial.
ORIGINAL: Ghislaine Maxwell’s name is frequently tied to that of Jeffrey Epstein – the late convicted sex offender who died in his New York jail cell of an apparent suicide in 2019. The other word associated with the 58-year-old Brit is elusive. The brunette hasn’t been spotted in public since August 2019, but her name is repeatedly mentioned throughout Netflix’s new docu-series, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, which premiered on May 27.
Before his death Epstein, 66, was sitting in jail awaiting trial after he was arrested and charged with sex trafficking minors in New York and Florida a month earlier, according to The New York Times. But many of the women featured in Filthy Rich, who say they were sexually assaulted and molested by the late hedge-fund manager, also allege that his friend, Maxwell, was an active participant who helped him to traffic. At least one of them has accused her of threatening them after they went to law enforcement.
“In 1996, following the assault by Jeffrey and Ghislaine, I came back to New York and I found out that they knew that I had reported them to the FBI,” Maria Farmer, an artist who was commissioned by Epstein to paint nude portraits, says in Filthy Rich. “Ghislaine called and said she was going to burn all my art and burn my career and destroy it.” Farmer also claims that Maxwell and Epstein groped and harassed her and raped her then 16-year-old sister Annie, according to The New York Times.
HollywoodLife has reached out to Maxwell’s lawyer multiple times for comment about this allegation and the plethora of accusations mentioned in the Netflix documentary, but we’ve yet to receive a comment. The socialite – who hasn’t been charged with a crime as of May 2020 – has repeatedly denied the allegations that she raped, molested or helped Epstein to traffic minors, according to ABC News. Here’s what else you need to know about Maxwell:
1. She is a well-connected Brit. Born in France and raised in the U.K., Ghislaine is the youngest of nine children. The Oxford-educated socialite has partied with royalty and world leaders including, Prince Andrew, former president Bill Clinton and the current White House occupants, Donald and Melania Trump.
2. Her father died in suspicious circumstances. Ghislaine’s dad, Robert Maxwell, once owned the New York Daily News and Britain’s Mirror Group Newspapers. He died in November 1991 after falling off his yacht, Lady Ghislaine, off the Canary Islands. His official cause of death was a heart attack and accidental drowning, although conspiracy theorists believe he either committed suicide or was murdered, according to The Guardian. After his death Robert Maxwell was accused of plundering the Mirror Group’s pension funds of around £460 million.
3. Ghislaine reportedly met Epstein after relocating to New York in the 1990s following her father’s death. “Her family’s wealth, status and influence considerably depleted, Maxwell found something of a replacement in her relationship with Epstein,” according to The Guardian.
4. Maxwell filed a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, The Guardian reports. In the court docs filed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, she says that she had “no involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged misconduct” and is asking for money to pay for her security costs because she allegedly “receives regular threats to her life and safety.”
5. She was photographed outside a Los Angeles In-N-Out Burger restaurant days after Epstein’s death. As of May 2020 her whereabouts are unknown but she was snapped dining at the popular California chain in August 2019.