Since Jeffrey Epstein’s death in 2019, his longtime girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, has continued to be the subject of public and legal scrutiny. There are more than half a dozen claims that she played a key part in the sex trafficking ring Epstein was accused of running and that she targeted, groomed, and even abused the young women herself. Maxwell has denied the allegations and vanished from the public eye for a long time following Epstein’s death. After she was arrested by the FBI in July 2020, she faced charges of enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children, and perjury. Here’s everything you need to know about the controversial British socialite.
Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Maxwell was born in 1961 to Robert Maxwell, a newspaper tycoon who died in a mysterious yacht incident in 1991. After her father’s death, Maxwell moved to New York City, where she met Epstein and introduced him to his network of high-profile connections, per CNN. The pair reportedly split in the 1990s, but court documents allege that during their relationship, Maxwell managed a network of recruiters and helped devise a playbook for how to target minors for Epstein to sexually abuse. Per The New York Times, recruiters were allegedly told to target young, financially desperate women and to promise to further their education and careers in exchange for paid massages that then turned sexual.
Epstein accuser Sarah Ransome claimed to the Times that Maxwell “orchestrated the whole thing for Jeffrey,” and a source further alleged to Vanity Fair that Maxwell once described the victims as “nothing” and “trash.”
Civil Lawsuits Against Ghislaine Maxwell
As a result, Maxwell has been the subject of several civil lawsuits filed both before and after Epstein’s 2019 death in prison. Virginia Guiffre filed a civil lawsuit against Maxwell in 2015, alleging that she and Epstein recruited her for their sex trafficking ring as a teen while she was working at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Guiffre also sued Maxwell for slander after Maxwell reportedly called the claims “untrue” and “obvious lies.” The lawsuit was settled in 2017.
In 2017, Ransome filed a suit that alleged Maxwell hired her to give Epstein massages and later coerced and threatened her into sexually pleasing Epstein. The suit was settled in 2018 under undisclosed terms.
On April 16, 2019, Maria Farmer alleged that she and her sister Annie were assaulted by both Epstein and Maxwell in separate locations in 1996. Annie formally sued Maxwell and Epstein’s estate in November 2019, accusing them of rape and battery.
Jennifer Araoz also filed a lawsuit in August 2019 alleging that Maxwell provided “organizational support to Epstein’s sex trafficking ring” by hiring recruiters and scheduling appointments with underage girls, per CNN. Araoz’s lawsuit further accused Maxwell of “intimidating potential witnesses to Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.”
Both Araoz and Farmer’s lawsuits are still ongoing, on top of several other “Jane Doe” cases. While Araoz’s attorney was initially unable to locate Maxwell in January 2020 to serve her the complaint, the lawsuit was filed in a Manhattan Supreme Court in September 2020, per the New York Post.