With Epstein Now Dead, Will Ghislaine Maxwell Be Charged?
Alleged victims of convicted child molester Jeffrey Epstein have their heads swimming after Epstein's death, reported by officials as a suicide. Lawmakers are calling for an investigation into how a man who was on suicide watch as recently as three weeks ago has managed to kill himself in a high security section of a federal detention center. Epstein was being held at Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal administrative detention facility in Manhattan, which also recently held Mexican drug lord "El Chapo."
Epstein was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, according to NBC News. He was said to have hung himself. So far there is no information on closed-circuit camera footage, which is a standard in high security lockups. Epstein was currently one of the highest profile prisoners in the US and was denied bail last month after being deemed a high flight risk.
Victims Demand the Investigation Continue
However, Epstein's alleged victims, despite expressing frustration at being deprived of their chance to face their alleged attacker in court, are calling for prosecutors to continue their investigation, and go after Epstein's "accomplices and enablers." Jennifer Araoz, who had accused Epstein of raping her when she was 15, said in a statement reported by NBC News:
"We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people. Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”
Epstein's death takes place a day after court records in a 2015 lawsuit were unsealed after a long and contentious battle with one of the defendants who is named in that lawsuit. Epstein's former partner and close friend, Ghislaine Maxwell, had sought to keep the thousands of pages of documents in the case sealed, but finally lost that bid, after years of legal wrangling. Revealed in the unsealed documents were allegations against a number of powerful figures, including a governor and a former US senator.
The UK Telegraph reported on August 12:
"A court in New York has ordered that thousands of pages of documents relating to Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell be unsealed, rejecting Ms Maxwell's attempts to ensure the papers remain hidden."
Of Epstein's death, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted today: "We need answers. Lots of them." Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. US Attorney General William Barr said: "Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered."
What Was Ghislaine Maxwell's Involvement?
The unsealed documents for the civil case, which was settled, reveal that Epstein pleaded the Fifth Amendment in a deposition when asked about the role of Ghislaine Maxwell in his crimes. Fox Business reported on August 11:
"When asked by lawyers in a deposition if his girlfriend and alleged procurer, Ghislaine Maxwell, secured young girls to have sex with him, Epstein had only a one-word answer: 'fifth.'"
Maxwell is a New York socialite and jet-setter who befriended Epstein sometime in the early Nineties. She was accused in multiple lawsuits of helping to procure underage girls for Epstein, and participating in sex acts with them herself.
The Washington Post reported after Epstein's death:
"Maxwell was a focus of the Epstein investigation from the start, according to the Palm Beach police officials who began the probe. The girls they interviewed repeatedly described Maxwell as the coordinator of Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation. But detectives were never able to interview Maxwell."
In a 2003 Vanity Fair article, Mr. Epstein described Ms. Maxwell as his “best friend.”
In a detailed article on Maxwell last month in the New York Times, "The ‘Lady of the House’ Who Was Long Entangled With Jeffrey Epstein," the Times reported:
"In a 2009 lawsuit against Mr. Epstein, Virginia Giuffre alleged that Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell sexually abused her starting when she was 16. She said she had been working as a changing room assistant at the Mar-a-Lago Club when Ms. Maxwell invited her to Mr. Epstein’s home with promises that she could learn massage therapy and earn a lot of money. Once there, she said, Ms. Maxwell helped Mr. Epstein force her into sexual activity with him, and then paid her $200 that day. She said it was the beginning of an arrangement that lasted several years. She also claimed that Ms. Maxwell took sexually explicit photos of her. Ms. Maxwell denied the claims."
Virginia Giuffre was formerly Virginia Roberts, the first woman to file a civil case against Epstein. The San Diego Union-Tribune said the unsealed documents include:
"photographs, plane logs and even a medical record from Presbyterian Hospital in New York where Giuffre was taken by Epstein after a particularly abusive sex episode."
In another civil lawsuit filed by yet another woman, Sarah Ransome, Maxwell was also accused of criminal behavior. Last December, Julie Brown at the Miami Herald reported:
"Ransome claimed that, in her early 20s, she was recruited to work as a masseuse for Epstein who, in exchange, promised he would help her get into fashion design in New York, according to her civil lawsuit, filed in January 2017. Epstein and Maxwell then kept her passport and threatened to ruin her life and physically harm her if she didn’t have sex with them and others in 2006 and 2007, Ransome said in the complaint."
Yet a third alleged victim in another civil case, Maria Farmer, has alleged that Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell sexually assaulted her in 1996 when she was a graduate student and that:
"they also flew her 15-year-old sister to his ranch in New Mexico, ordered her to take off her clothes and improperly touched her."
The New York Times wrote:
"She continued to reside at least part-time in Mr. Epstein’s homes in New York and Florida. “Ms. Maxwell was like the lady of the house,” said Alfredo Rodriguez, who worked in the Palm Beach mansion in 2005, explaining that household expenses were paid out of a bank account in Ms. Maxwell’s name, according to a deposition in a court case."
The cultured and well-educated Maxwell is said to have been Epstein's entree into high society; Epstein was the son of a groundskeeper. It was Maxwell who introduced Epstein to both Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton, according to a Rolling Stone background piece last month, "Who Is British Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s Longtime Partner?"
Epstein's main residence in New York was a $70 million mansion given to him by Victoria's Secret billionaire Les Wexner, Epstein's main client, often described as a "mentor." Illustrating a web of social relationships where interesting connections abound, Wexner founded the billionaire's club Mega Group along with fellow billionaires Charles and Edgar Bronfman, heirs to the Seagram's fortune. Edgar Bronfman's daughter Clare recently pleaded guilty in the NXIVM case, which involved a "sex slave" cult in which women were branded with a hot iron.
Ghislaine and Robert Maxwell
Maxwell is the daughter of the famous media mogul, Israeli spy, and scoundrel Robert Maxwell, the subject of a number of books including "Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul" by Gordon Thomas. Maxwell died under mysterious circumstances when he allegedly fell off his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, near the Canary Islands. Maxwell was a dual American-Israeli citizen. He was given a quasi-state funeral in Israel, where he is buried, which was attended by then-Israeli President Chaim Herzog, and Israeli political figures Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres.
A definitive article on the life and death of Robert Maxwell was published in 2001 in the UK Independent, "The Day the Captain Died." British MP George Galloway once called Maxwell "one of the worst criminals of the century."
Ghislaine Maxwell was friends with many of the rich and powerful, and was a guest at Chelsea Clinton's wedding in 2010, two years after Epstein had been convicted in Florida.
Epstein's Activities Are Widely Speculated
The extent and nature of Epstein's illegal activities are the subject of intriguing speculation which goes beyond the abuse of underage girls, or the controversial "sweetheart" plea deal given to Epstein in 2008.
Suggesting a blackmail operation, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
"According to investigators, Epstein had cameras placed in clocks and other items in the room to secretly record his sexual encounters and those of other influential men he invited into his homes to have sex with young girls."
In a landmark piece on Epstein by Vanity Fair journalist Vicki Ward, Ward reported that former US labor secretary Alexander Acosta, who approved the "sweetheart deal," was told during the Trump transition that Epstein "belonged to intelligence."
With the act of a much older man making contact with and initiating conversation with underage girls being fraught with legal peril, some have said it is doubtful Epstein could have accomplished his criminal career without the critical help of accomplices and intermediaries.
In seeking to unseal the trove of court documents released on Friday, the attorney for Virginia Roberts Giuffre, Paul Cassell, once said in oral arguments:
“When all the records come out it will show that Epstein and Maxwell were trafficking girls to the benefit of his friends..."
Child sex rings have been probed and uncovered in the US in the past, most notably documented in the suppressed documentary Conspiracy of Silence in the 1990s. The Discovery Channel was set to run the film before it was suddenly pulled from the air schedule and all copies purchased by an anonymous party.