Jeffrey Epstein confidant charged

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12:58 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Jeffrey Epstein's confidant was charged today. Here's what we know.

Ghislaine Maxwell — the onetime girlfriend and alleged accomplice of accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein — was arrested this morning.

She faces counts in connection with the ongoing federal investigation into Epstein's accomplices, according to court documents and a person familiar with the matter.

Here's what we know about the case so far:

  • The charges: Maxwell is charged with enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury, according to a federal indictment unsealed today.
  • What prosectors say happened: At a news conference today, prosecutors said Maxwell worked alongside Epstein to "entice" victims into traveling to his homes. She "pretended to be a woman they could trust, all the while she was setting them up to be sexually abused by Epstein," an official said at the news conference. An FBI official said Maxwell would "recruit, entice, groom, and abuse" Epstein victims who were under 18.
  • They want her detained: Asked if they will look to jail Maxwell on the charges announced today, Acting US attorney Audrey Strauss said, "we will be seeking detention."

12:31 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Federal prosecutors say they will seek to detain Maxwell

Asked if they will look to jail Ghislaine Maxwell on the charges announced today, Acting US attorney Audrey Strauss said, "we will be seeking detention."

Strauss said that prosecutors will be discussing Maxwell's detention with the Bureau of Prisons.

12:32 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Federal prosecutors say they "would welcome" Prince Andrew's statement on the case

Federal prosecutors said they “would welcome Prince Andrew coming in” to speak with them for the “the benefit of his statement,” Audrey Strauss, Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told reporters during a news conference about Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest.

“Our doors remain open, as we have previously said, and we would welcome his coming in and giving us an opportunity to hear his statement,” she said.

Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth II, faces allegations stemming from his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal charges that he sexually abused underage girls and ran a sex-trafficking ring.

Prince Andrew's legal team refused to comment on Maxwell's arrest this morning.

1:29 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

FBI assistant director: We were "discreetly keeping tabs" on Maxwell before her arrest

FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney said that bureau officials "have been discreetly keeping tabs" on Maxwell who had "slithered away to a gorgeous property" in New Hampshire.

"We learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a live a life of privilege while her victims continue to live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago. We moved when we were ready and Ms. Maxwell was arrested without incident,” he said.

Sweeney said that the FBI, along with the NYPD, arrested Maxwell in Bradford, New Hampshire, this morning without incident.

Audrey Strauss, acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, explained the process that led to Maxwell's arrest: "an eye was being kept, and information was being collected and then the indicted was just recently voted and filed and that is when we were able and prepared to move to arrest her."

Sweeney said that indictment alleges that from 1994 until 1997, Maxwell assisted Epstein in committing crimes against minors.

He said she would "recruit, entice, groom, and abuse" Epstein victims who were under 18. He added that FBI also "alleged Ms. Maxwell lied under oath."

12:16 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Ghislaine Maxwell earned the trust of Epstein's victims, officials say

Ghislaine Maxwell was "among (Jeffrey) Epstein's closest associates" and the two worked together to entice young victims, an official said at a US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York news conference.

Maxwell, the longtime girlfriend and alleged accomplice of the accused sex-trafficker, was arrested this morning and, according to court documents, has been charged by New York federal prosecutors with six counts in connection with the ongoing federal investigation into Epstein's accomplices.

Maxwell and Epstein worked together to "entice" victims to travel to Epstein's homes, prosecutors said. She often befriended the girls.

"She pretended to be a woman they could trust, all the while she was setting them up to be sexually abused by Epstein," an official said.
12:02 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Buckingham Palace declines to comment on Ghislaine Maxwell's arrest

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau

Buckingham Palace said Thursday they would not comment on the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein’s confidant Ghislaine Maxwell in New Hampshire earlier that day.

“This is not something for us to comment on,” a spokesperson for the Palace told CNN.

Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth II, faces allegations stemming from his relationship with Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal charges that he sexually abused underage girls and ran a sex-trafficking ring.

His legal team has also declined to comment on the arrest.

11:55 a.m. ET, July 2, 2020

SOON: New York prosecutors speak about Ghislaine Maxwell's charges

The US Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York is expected to announce in a noon ET news conference the charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her "role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein”

Maxwell, the longtime girlfriend and alleged accomplice of the accused sex-trafficker, was arrested this morning and according to court documents and a person familiar with the matter, has been charged by New York federal prosecutors with six counts in connection with the ongoing federal investigation into Epstein's accomplices.

Maxwell is charged with enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury, according to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday.

11:47 a.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Prince Andrew's legal team declines to comment on Ghislaine Maxwell's arrest 

From CNN’s Max Foster in London

Prince Andrew’s legal team “will not be commenting” the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, they told CNN after Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend and long-time associate was arrested in New Hampshire earlier Thursday. 

What is this about: The Duke of York faces allegations stemming from his relationship with Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal charges that he sexually abused underage girls and ran a sex-trafficking ring.

One of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has alleged that she was forced into sexual encounters with the prince while underage. In a 2015 federal court filing, Giuffre alleged Epstein forced her to perform sex acts with several prominent men, including Prince Andrew in 2001.

All of them have denied the allegations.

In a televised interview to the BBC in November 2019, Prince Andrew denied having seen anything that struck him as suspicious when he was around Epstein.

11:44 a.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Some Epstein victims "very skeptical" because of lack of follow through after other arrests, attorney says

From CNN’s Sonia Moghe

Spencer Kuvin, who represents six alleged Epstein victims, said while they are happy about news of Ghilaine Maxwell's arrest, some remain "skeptical."

“On behalf of the victims, we are very happy that the US Attorney’s Office has decided to move forward on this arrest, which is hopefully just the beginning. We’re hopeful that there will continue to be additional arrests with respect to other co-conspirators," he said.

Kuvin added: “The victims are very skeptical because there have been arrests in the past and the US government has not followed through.”