The trial of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and close confidant Ghislaine Maxwell is set to get underway Monday.
Maxwell, a British socialite who insists she is innocent, is faces allegations of helping Epstein arrange “dates” with women over the age of 18 for a constellation of rich and powerful men.
Maxwell is being tried on six counts, including conspiracy to transport underage girls to engage in illegal sexual activity. The indictment cites four victims whom, prosecutors say, Maxwell groomed between 1994 and 2004 when the women were minors (some as young as 14 at the time). Prosecutors allege Maxwell befriended the girls, took them shopping and to the movies, and delivered them to Epstein to be abused, often in Maxwell’s presence.
Epstein, a multimillionaire financier, was said to have close connections with Prince Andrew, former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, and Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner, Alan Dershowitz, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson; former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell; the late MIT computer scientist Marvin Minsky; and MC2 model agency cofounder Jean-Luc Brunel, among a plethora of Hollywood celebrities.
“This is going to be a narrow slice of what happened,” said civil attorney Dan Kaiser, who represents several alleged Epstein victims though none involved in this particular trial. “This is a ring that ensnared dozens and dozens and dozens of girls. And Maxwell was an integral player. You could say she was Epstein’s chief operating officer.”
Epstein was found dead in August 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide, although this is widely disbelieved by the public.
“Maxwell was the center of that sex trafficking ring,” alleged Epstein victim Jennifer Araoz told NBC News after Maxwell was arrested in July 2020 at her luxurious hideout in Bedford, New Hampshire.
Maxwell’s older brother, Ian, has said his sister is a “patsy” and that federal investigators zeroed in on her only after Epstein hanged himself.