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Ghislaine Maxwell, the ex-girlfriend of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is finally in court on sex trafficking charges.
The British socialite was arrested last year and charged in the US after being arrested by the FBI.
Maxwell is accused of helping Epstein's abuse of minors by helping to recruit and groom victims who were known to be underage, the BBC reports.
The 58-year-old was arrested in New Hampshire on July 2, 2020 was taken to court and later remanded in custody to be taken to New York.
Maxwell has denied any involvement in or knowledge of the former businessman’s alleged sexual misconduct.
Epstein died in prison on 10 August as he awaited his trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was determined to be suicide.
The socialite was arrested in 2019 in New York following allegations that he was leading a network of underage girls for sex.
Accusers alleged that between 1994 and 1997, Maxwell assisted Epstein in grooming underage girls.
‘Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse,’ said Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York.
Here is everything we know about Ghislaine Maxwell...
What has happened so far in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial?
On November 29, 2021 prosecutors alleged Maxwell preyed on and groomed young girls for convicted paedophile Epstein to abuse.
'She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused,' Assistant District Attorney Lara Pomerantz said in her opening statement at the trial, attended by Maxwell.
Prosecutors argue that Maxwell was 'essential' to Epstein's abuse.
However, the socialite's layer Bobbi Sternheim argued: 'The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are for things that Jeffrey Epstein did, but she is not Jeffrey Epstein.'
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of sex trafficking and other crimes. If convicted, she faces up to 80 years in prison.
On November 30 one of Epstein's pilots Larry Visoski (a witness in the trial) described Maxwell as 'the number one', noting: 'Epstein was the big number one.'
Visoski also recalled flying Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey and Virginia Roberts Giuffre during his 25-year career as Epstein's pilot.
While he claimed he had never seen any sexual activity during the flights as the cockpit door was kept shut.
An accuser known as Jane to the court claimed Maxwell has been in the room when she'd had sexual interactions with Epstein when she was aged 14. Detailing the alleged abuse, Jane said that Maxwell was 'very casual' about the encounters, and that she would talk to her about sex.
Jane is the one of four accusers expected to testify at the trial.
What Is Ghislaine Maxwell Charged with?
The BBC reports that four of the charges levied against Maxwell relate to the years 1994-97 when she was, according to the indictment, among the paedophile’s closest associates and also in an ‘intimate relationship’ with him.
A break down of the charges include:
Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
Enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
Transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
She has another two charges which involve allegations of perjury in 2016.
The charge sheet states Maxwell ‘repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minor victims’.
‘Maxwell lied because the truth, as alleged, was almost unspeakable,’ Strauss stated.
“Today we announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls.”
Acting US Attorney, Audrey Strauss confirms Ghislaine Maxwell will be presented before a magistrate this afternoon.https://t.co/pjbeML09Q1 pic.twitter.com/FBN6L0uV89
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 2, 2020
‘Maxwell and Epstein worked together to entice these minor victims to travel to Epstein's residences - his residence in New York City on the Upper East Side, as well as Palm Beach, Florida, and Santa Fe, New Mexico,’ Strauss told the media on Thursday.
‘Some of the acts of abuse also took place in Maxwell's residence in London, England.’
On of Epstein's alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, has accused Maxwell of recruiting her as a masseuse to the businessman at the age of 15. However, that allegation appeared in documents in a 2015 defamation case and were not part of the charges against Maxwell in July 2020.
Early in 2020 Maxwell sued Epstein's estate, seeking reimbursement for legal fees and security costs. She ‘receives regular threats to her life and safety’, court documents in that case said.
In a BBC interview in 2019, Prince Andrew said that he had met Maxwell last year, prior to Epstein’s arrest. However, he said that they did not discuss Epstein.
US attorney Geoffrey Berman has since stated that the Duke of York has ‘repeatedly declined our request’ to organise an interview. The royal’s lawyers have rejected claims he has not co-operated.
In light of the charges against Maxwell, Prince Andrew’s lawyers told BBC News: ‘The Duke's team is bewildered by the DoJ's [Department of Justice's] comments earlier today as we have twice reached out to them in the last month and have received no reply.’
Is Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's resignation related to Ghislaine Maxwell's trial?
On the first day of Maxwell's trial, November 29, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey resigned from his post.
While he didn't provide a reason for the departure, Dorsey said Twitter should 'break away from its founding and founders' and that dependence on them is 'severely limiting'. He will be succeeded by Twitter’s chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal, but remain on the board until his term expires in 2022.
In a letter posted on his Twitter account Dorsey said he was 'really sad...yet really happy' about leaving the position.
not sure anyone has heard but,
I resigned from Twitter pic.twitter.com/G5tUkSSxkl
— jack⚡️ (@jack) November 29, 2021
Bizarrely Dorsey's resignation has prompted speculation and the sharing of misleading information on social media that the move is someway linked to Maxwell's trial.
Several Twitter users have tweeted about the resignation and first day of the trial, with one user going as far as to question whether the two occurring on the same say as a 'coincidence'. You read the tweets here.
Associated Press has looked into the claims and stated that based on its research it rates the claims the resignation is related to Maxwell's trial 'partly false'.
Until Now Ghislaine Maxwell Has Remained In Solitary Confinement
Following a hearing, on July 14, 2020 Maxwell was denied bail, with a New York judge saying that she would remain in custody while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors for Epstein, owing to the fact that she would be an 'extreme' flight risk.
Further to that, Maxwell was transferred into solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, where she has been monitored 24/7 since her arrest, including, reportedly by the FBI's psychologists.
At one point Maxwell campaigned to be transferred out of solitary confinement and into the prison's general population, but on August 25, 2020 Judge Alison J. Nathan denied this request, stating that Maxwell had 'provided the Court with no evidence, and no reason to believe, that the surveillance measures are motivated by improper purposes'.
The same judge also turned down a plea by Maxwell's lawyers for the identities of three alleged victims making claims against her to be revealed. The three victims asserted that they were sexually abused by Epstein and Maxwell when they were children.
Did Ghislaine Maxwell Apply For Bail?
Yes, she did but during a hearing via video link on July 14, Maxwell was denied bail.
A New York judge said that she would remain in custody while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors for Epstein.
Federal prosecutors said she was an ‘extreme’ flight risk and should remain in custody.
Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to charges that she recruited girls and women for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse more than two decades ago.
Maxwell, who is being held without bail, appeared in a video court hearing in Manhattan. https://t.co/ueeFv2bTnu
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 14, 2020
However, Maxwell’s lawyers denied this claim, asked for her release on bail of £4m ($5m) and said that her detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, put her at ‘serious risk’ of contracting coronavirus.
What Has President Donald Trump Said About Ghislaine Maxwell?
Last year former President Donald Trump told reporters that he wishes Maxwell 'well', after she pleaded not guilty in a bail hearing.
The president was asked whether he thought Maxwell was 'going to turn in powerful men' during a Covid-19 press briefing on July 21, 2020.
‘I don’t know, I haven’t really been following it too much,’ he said in response to a question about the British socialite.
'I just wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is. I don’t know the situation with Prince Andrew, I just don’t know. Not aware of it.’
Trump and his wife Melania were photographed with Epstein and Ms Maxwell at Mar-a-Lago in 2000. Two years later, they posed for photos again with Maxwell at a Dolce & Gabbana event in New York City.
Speaking about Epstein following his arrest last year, the president told reporters: 'I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.'
Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Ghislaine (pronounced 'ghee-lane') Maxwell is a 59-year-old British socialite. Her father was Robert Maxwell, a former MP and owner of the Daily Mirror. She was propelled into the spotlight on November 5 1991 when her father was found dead after falling from a yacht.
Some believed he had taken his own life due to financial problems – reports following his death alleged he may have helped himself to the Mirror's pension pot to avert company collapse – but Maxwell refused to believe her father died by suicide, while others speculated he had been murdered. An inquest later ruled a heart attack and drowning were the causes of the media mogul's death.
Since her father's death, Maxwell has been a regular on the New York social scene, mixing with the rich, famous and powerful including President Trump and his wife Melania, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and the Clintons. She was even a guest at Chelsea Clinton's wedding.
How Is Ghislaine Maxwell Linked To Jeffrey Epstein?
Maxwell and Epstein were first romantically linked in 1992. She then became his 'best friend' according to a 1993 Vanity Fair profile, but court documents allege a more sinister relationship.
The British socialite has been accused of recruiting the underage girls who were transported between Epstein's various properties, and being complicit in their abuse by engaging in threesomes with Epstein and the young women.
Prior to July 2020, Maxwell had not been charged with any crime, but was named in several civil lawsuits brought by Epstein's victims before his death. One alleged she acted as his madam, something she denied.
Recently unsealed court documents from an earlier lawsuit claim Maxwell 'assisted in internationally trafficking girls' for Epstein and his friends, 'for sexual purposes', according to the New York Post.
Last year, US Attorney General William Barr previously warned that 'any co-conspirators [of Epstein] should not rest easy'.
Where Had Ghislaine Maxwell Been Staying Before July 2020?
There were reports in the US media in August 2019 that that Epstein's alleged former mistress had fled to France to stay with one of her sisters, following rumours that she could now face criminal charges for allegedly recruiting young women to visit the billionaire's home and give him massages.
But the New York Post published pictures of Maxwell reportedly lunching in Los Angeles at the time – the first time she's been photographed in public since 2016.
The Daily Mail went on to claim that the photos were staged by her lawyer and friend Leah Saffian, saying Maxwell is actually living at a friend's in Massachusetts. To date, Saffian has not commented on this allegation
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