Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime confidante of the late Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday morning in New Hampshire, the FBI said.
Who exactly is Maxwell, and how does she relate to the Epstein scandal? Here’s a look.
■ A British socialite who grew up in a 53-room mansion, Maxwell moved to New York from England in 1991, around the same time her father — a media mogul who had been engulfed in financial scandal — died, according to The New York Times. She began dating Epstein, who was able to help her “resurrect the lifestyle she coveted” after her family lost much of its publishing empire, while Epstein was introduced to her friends in high places — including Britain’s Prince Andrew, according to the Times.
Maxwell and Epstein would often host friends and celebrities, and one described Maxwell to the Times as the “charming, likable front person” in the couple: “A big part of the reason people talked to him [Epstein] was because of Ghislaine.”
■ After revelations about Epstein and his alleged penchant for young girls surfaced, questions were also raised about Maxwell’s involvement, as some alleged that her role included recruiting young girls for him. One former employee of Mr. Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., referred to her as the “lady of the house,” while one of Epstein’s accusers called her Epstein’s “madam” in court papers, according to the Times.
■ Two Epstein accusers have said Maxwell participated in the abuse.
Virginia Giuffre alleged in a 2009 lawsuit that Epstein began sexually abusing her when she was 16 and working at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. She said Maxwell invited her to Epstein’s house, forced her into sexual relations with him, and then paid her, according to the New York Times.
Giuffre told the Miami Herald that Epstein would expect sexual activities from girls like her, saying that Maxwell “participated in these acts with him as well.”
Maxwell has denied Giuffre’s claims.
And while Maxwell was not originally criminally charged, she has struck confidential settlements with two Epstein accusers, according to the Times.
The Times also described an advertisement that appeared in Yoga Journal in 1993 that sought a personal instructor, describing it as a job with “fantastic perks,” telling candidates to call “Miss Maxwell” and listing Epstein’s office number.
■ The Associated Press reported in 2019 that a woman had sued Maxwell and three unnamed members of Epstein’s staff. Jennifer Araoz alleged that Epstein forcibly raped her when she was a teenager in 2002.
Maxwell’s publicist and lawyers had not immediately responded to e-mails from the AP seeking comment.
■ After Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 in Florida to soliciting prostitution, Maxwell turned to environmental causes and founded a nonprofit intended to save the oceans, according to the Times. She also never quit being a socialite — she was seen attending Chelsea Clinton’s wedding (Maxwell was a friend of Bill Clinton and sometimes traveled with him on Epstein’s plane) and was photographed with celebrities like Arianna Huffington and Martha Stewart, according to the Times.
■ In summer 2019, Maxwell was reportedly dating Scott Borgerson, the cofounder and CEO of CargoMetrics, a Boston-based firm that tracks seaborne cargoes and vessels all over the world. However, Borgerson described Maxwell as a “former friend” in an interview with Business Insider and denied that she was staying with him.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss Emily Sweeney can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.