The stage was set for Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial in 1991, after she met Jeffrey Epstein | Ghislaine Maxwell

For years, Ghislaine Maxwell operated in a social circle of the worldwide elite so unique that its highly effective members appeared insulated from significant scrutiny.

That circle was the world of Maxwell’s ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced late financier who for years sexually abused teen ladies. A few of his victims had been as younger as 14.

That world got here crashing down when she was arrested in June at a hideaway in New Hampshire and charged for her position in Epstein’s crimes. Her destiny was selected Wednesday, when a Manhattan federal courtroom jury returned a responsible verdict.

However, although Maxwell’s fall got here shortly and her time in courtroom unfolded at velocity, the stage for Maxwell’s trial was truly set many years in the past, when she first met Epstein. Witness testimony in the course of the case has painted a dramatic and intimate image of Maxwell’s life and instances on the middle of Epstein’s world.


Maxwell, the daughter of UK media baron Robert Maxwell, was a primary candidate for entry into Epstein’s orbit. She arrived in New York Metropolis in 1991, round when her father bought the New York Day by day Information.

Maxwell’s position was that of a cultured liaison, to clean the way in which for her father’s takeover of the paper. That summer season, she turned carefully related to Epstein.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. {Photograph}: Patrick McMullan/Getty Photos

The Oxford-educated Maxwell was putting. She stood round 5ft 8in, with a slim body and dramatic darkish hair, and seen for her “outlined cheeks”. She was “effectively put collectively, fairly”, one former Epstein worker mentioned. Longtime Epstein pilot David Rodgers recalled Maxwell as “very energetic” with a “nice persona”.

Maxwell had a complicated English accent, possible enhancing her glamorous newcomer attract. In line with Maxwell’s worldly persona, she resided in a “very giant residence” in the Columbus Circle space of Manhattan, on an “higher flooring”, Rodgers mentioned.

On 5 November 1991, Robert died in a boating accident on his yacht, the Girl Ghislaine.

“She was actually, actually upset. You possibly can inform, this was ‘Daddy’s lady’. She was inconsolable; she may hardly communicate. When she noticed her mom, her knees simply buckled,” Ken Lennox, then the Maxwell-owned Day by day Mirror’s senior photographer, beforehand instructed the Guardian.

“She was actually devastated. When you look by means of the Maxwell recordsdata, he would take her to occasions: Elton John’s birthday, soccer matches. She was all the time there, clinging on to him. She known as him ‘My Daddy’ on a regular basis.”

Following Robert’s loss of life, information emerged £460m was lacking from his firms’ pensions funds. The household’s fame was in ruins.

Two of Maxwell’s brothers, Kevin and Ian, had been in the end tried in 1996 for their roles in their father’s companies. They efficiently defended themselves in opposition to fraud prices.

One or two months after Robert’s loss of life, Maxwell moved from her spectacular house to a studio. Epstein didn’t abandon Maxwell following her obvious monetary descent.

“Early on, they had been romantically concerned,” Rodgers mentioned. One other certainly one of Epstein’s former pilots, Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr, mentioned of Epstein and Maxwell’s relationship: “I believed it was extra private than enterprise.”

Viskosi didn’t see them holding palms or kissing, describing them as not essentially romantic however “couple-ish”. She was “on lots of the flights.”


Maxwell turned “No 2” in Epstein’s hierarchy, with Epstein being “No 1”, tasked with dealing with each facet of the financier’s life that didn’t take care of his companies.

An undated image of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, released as an exhibit by the US attorney’s office.
An undated picture of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, launched as an exhibit by the US lawyer’s workplace. {Photograph}: REX/Shutterstock

Juan Alessi, the home supervisor at Epstein’s Palm Seaside house from 1992 to 2002, gave a fair clearer image of when their sophisticated relationship solidified – and their degree of intimacy.

“Ms Maxwell was the girlfriend of Mr Epstein; I perceive she was the girl of the home,” Alessi recounted. “From the day she got here to the home, she straight away took over, and she talked about to me she was going to be the girl of the home. Additionally, she was in cost of different properties, different properties.”

Others stuffed out that image.

“She instructed me a number of wonderful issues about her boyfriend and that she mentioned he was a philanthropist,” mentioned Kate, one of many 4 accusers to testify at Maxwell’s trial. Kate was 17 when she met Maxwell in Paris round 1994.

Kate mentioned that Maxwell first lured the then teen into sexual encounters with Epstein at her London townhouse, below the guise of giving him a therapeutic massage. Maxwell “would ask me if I knew anyone who may come and provides Jeffrey [oral sex] as a result of it was quite a bit for her to do”, Kate testified.

“She mentioned, ‘You recognize what he likes: cute, younger, fairly, such as you.’ She mentioned he wanted to have intercourse about thrice a day.”

Images of Maxwell and Epstein launched at trial additionally present them having fun with romance throughout the globe. In a single waterfront picture, Maxwell has her arms round Epstein’s neck, and she is kissing him. In one other, she is giving him one other cheek-peck in a sunny city.

One picture reveals them posing shut in black-tie clothes, one other a number of present them side-by-side in fancy cold-weather apparel. A number of photos present Maxwell massaging Epstein’s toes on his non-public jet, a giddy smile on her face.

Maxwell appeared smitten with Epstein. In October 2002, Maxwell even appeared to jot down a gushing phrase doc about them, albeit in the third particular person.

“Jeffrey and Ghislaine have been collectively, a pair for the final 11 years. They’re, opposite to what many individuals assume, hardly ever aside – I nearly all the time see them collectively,” learn the doc, which was launched as proof at trial.

“Jeffrey and Ghislaine share many mutual pursuits they usually have lots of enjoyable collectively. They each have eager looking out and inquisitive minds. She grew up amongst scientists and in an instructional and enterprise setting,” the textual content continued. “Jeffrey and Ghislaine complement one another rather well and I can’t think about one with out the opposite. On high of being nice companions, they’re additionally the perfect of associates.”

A photo of Jeffrey Epstein near Ghislaine Maxwell at her trial, as seen in a courtroom sketch from 2 December.
A photograph of Jeffrey Epstein close to Ghislaine Maxwell at her trial, as seen in a courtroom sketch from 2 December. {Photograph}: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Whether or not Maxwell was truly enamored or not, prosecutors contended that monetary advantages motivated her involvement with Epstein. They tried establishing that regardless of her tony pedigree, she wasn’t notably rich once they met.

“Whereas this horrific abuse was occurring behind closed doorways, the defendant was jet setting in non-public planes and residing a lifetime of extraordinary luxurious,” prosecutor Lara Pomerantz mentioned in her opening. “These ladies had been only a means to help her way of life, a method for the defendant to be sure that Epstein – who demanded fixed sexual gratification from younger ladies – remained glad in order that the defendant may keep in the life-style to which she was accustomed.”

Kate’s testimony pointed to an attractive monetary hyperlink between Maxwell and Epstein. “She instructed me that she owned her home in New York Metropolis, and that Jeffrey had acquired it for her.”

Rodgers described how Maxwell’s residences modified over the time she was courting Epstein. Maxwell swapped her one-room flat for a “giant house” then, across the late 90s, she had a townhouse on East sixty fifth Road.

“I imagine it was a brown, 5 tales tall. It had a courtyard in the again of it,” he mentioned. “It was a fairly large place, most likely … roughly 6,500 sq ft, possibly seven [thousand]”

After which there was the money. Prosecutors known as an officer from JP Morgan financial institution to testify about money transfers from Epstein’s accounts to Maxwell’s. The banker, Patrick McHugh, walked jurors by means of paperwork which demonstrated that Epstein moved greater than $30m to Maxwell’s accounts from 1999 to 2007.

Sooner or later in the early 2000s, Epstein and Maxwell’s romance ended. Cimberly Espinoa, Maxwell’s assistant from 1996 to 2002, mentioned their relationship appeared to finish round her final two years in the workplace.

Maxwell began courting different males. She and Epstein stopped displaying up at his Manhattan workplace across the identical time. They now not left collectively.

Maxwell began courting Ted Waitt, the billionaire co-founder of Gateway Computer systems. This relationship shored up Maxwell’s social stature post-Epstein, according to the New York Times. Waitt’s “check-writing helped safe her place at conferences as they changed profit galas because the first-tier social gatherings of the late aughts”, the paper mentioned.

In 2007, Epstein brokered a controversial plea deal that allowed him to flee federal prices for child-sex crime allegations. Whereas Maxwell was shielded by a non-prosecution settlement, she was not shielded from dangerous publicity.

This “wore” on Waitt and he and Maxwell break up in 2010. However the tech mogul had given a minimal of $12m to Invoice Clinton’s philanthropic basis, which saved Maxwell sustaining a foothold with the previous president’s household.

Ghislaine Maxwell attends the Elton John Aids Foundation’s benefit in New York City in 2010.
Ghislaine Maxwell attends the Elton John Aids Basis’s profit in New York Metropolis in 2010. {Photograph}: D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Maxwell made connections at Clinton household summits, permitting her to begin the ocean charity TerraMar Undertaking in 2012, in accordance with the newspaper. TerraMar had a web site, and raised cash, however didn’t seem to offer any grants, the newspaper famous.

Then Maxwell’s place amongst well mannered society took one other blow in the mid-2010s.

Virginia Giuffre publicly alleged that Maxwell and Epstein pressured her right into a sexual encounter with Prince Andrew when she was simply 17. Maxwell known as her a liar, and Giuffre sued for defamation in 2015.

They settled the lawsuit in 2017. Other than some intermittent dialogue about these allegations, the scandal died down considerably till late 2018.

That was when the Miami Herald’s Julie Okay Brown printed an explosive collection that renewed consideration on Epstein’s crimes – and spurred outrage over his avoidance of justice.

In July 2019, Epstein was arrested for intercourse trafficking. He killed himself in a New York Metropolis federal jail shortly thereafter, whereas awaiting his trial.

Epstein’s victims, now not in a position to confront him, got a chance to talk in courtroom. 5 named Maxwell as a participant or enabler in Epstein’s abuse.

Maxwell’s whereabouts instantly turned the topic of immense hypothesis, and lots of puzzled whether or not federal prosecutors would pursue her.

These questions had been answered one 12 months after Epstein’s arrest. Manhattan federal prosecutors introduced that she was apprehended and charged with intercourse crimes, conspiracy and perjury, in Epstein’s intercourse abuse ring.

They described Maxwell as “slithering away” into hiding. Earlier than Maxwell’s seize, nevertheless, she lived the excessive life on the run.

She bought the 156-acre property in Bradford, New Hampshire that turned her hideaway in an all-cash deal. Two actual property web sites mentioned this property bought for $1,070,750.

It was described as “an incredible retreat for the character lover who additionally desires complete privateness”. Or, in Maxwell’s case, a disgraced heiress on the run.

  • Info and help for anybody affected by rape or sexual abuse points is obtainable from the next organisations. Within the US, Rainn presents help on 800-656-4673. Within the UK, Rape Crisis presents help on 0808 802 9999. In Australia, help is obtainable at 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Different worldwide helplines could be discovered at

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