Former Jeffrey Epstein companion Ghislaine Maxwell is in federal custody

Former Jeffrey Epstein companion Ghislaine Maxwell is in federal custody

Maxwell "encouraged certain victims to accept Epstein's assistance" and, as a result, "were made to feel indebted" to both Epstein and Maxwell, the indictment said.

Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire on Epstein-related charges and is expected to appear in a federal court on Thursday.

Epstein killed himself in a federal detention centre in NY last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Jennifer Araoz, a woman who says Epstein raped her in his NY mansion in 2002 when she was 15, said she feared the financier's ring of conspirators for years.

Maxwell has previously repeatedly denied wrongdoing and called some of the claims against her "absolute rubbish".

Epstein has been linked socially to numerous powerful figures, from President Donald Trump to former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew.

"More recently, we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago", William Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI's NY office, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse herself".

Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then delivered them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them.

It said that as early as 1994, Maxwell would "entice and groom" minor girls by asking them about their lives, their schools and their families. They were pictured together at events in Manhattan. These alleged efforts included "moving locations at least twice, switching her primary phone number (which she registered under the name "G Max") and email address, and ordering packages for delivery with a different person listed on the shipping label".

Leah Saffian, a lawyer for Maxwell, declined to comment on the charges.

According to the FBI, Maxwell was taken into custody without incident.

She also faces two counts of perjury, while the indictment says Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct. You will recall that the indictment against Jeffrey Epstein that we filed in July of 2019 charged Epstein with sexual abuse of young girls from 2002 to 2005.

Epstein was arrested a year ago nearly to the day - July 5, 2019 - on sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges.

"For years, I feared Epstein and his ring". "A number of them were sex trafficked to Jeffrey Epstein when they were minors".

In March, Maxwell also launched a suit against his estate seeking compensation for legal fees and security costs incurred by her association with Epstein. "With the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, this welcomed news will hopefully be the first of many co-conspirators to face the consequences of this horrific crimes". Mr Epstein described her as his "best friend".

Maxwell was an ex-girlfriend of Epstein who became a long-time member of his inner circle.

On what he should do now, Nigel Cawthorne, author of recent biography Prince Andrew, Epstein and the Palace, said: "The prince should take a very deep breath, swallow his ego, and follow humbly the advice of the experts who are advising him to the letter - no ifs and no buts". The prince was forced to retire from public duties after a disastrous TV interview in November that did little to dampen speculation about his links to the late pedophile. One of those teens, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, accused Maxwell in a 2015 defamation suit. Some of these outings would involve Epstein and Maxwell together with the girls; on other occasions, Maxwell would socialize separately with the young victims, the US said.

She was arrested on charges of "assisting, facilitating and contributing" to Epstein's abuse of minors, by "helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims" known to be under age, four documents show. She would do this by "discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victims and Epstein", prosecutors said.

That abuse included sexualized massages, during which the minor victim was fully or partially nude.

A copy of the indictment filed in a NY court showed the charges include conspiracy to entice minors to travel in order to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of minors for criminal sexual activity and perjury. The perjury charge stems from her 2016 testimony during a case that was pending in NY.

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