We all know 2020 has been a terrible year with respect to just about everything imaginable. But finally, some not-horrible news, as reports broke Thursday morning that Ghislaine Maxwell, former girlfriend and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein, has finally been arrested by the FBI. In an indictment, she is accused of having “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims …” The indictment adds that the victims were as young as 14 years old and that Maxwell and Epstein knew very well they were under 18.
A 2018 Miami Herald report blew the Epstein case wide open, and accused him of running an underage sex trafficking ring that went all the way to the top. Epstein and former British socialite Maxwell dated from around 1994-1997, and during that time Maxwell allegedly helped Epstein recruit underage girls for his sex trafficking ring. They would hang out at local high schools, shopping malls, and other places adolescents like to congregate and recruit them to give “massages” to Epstein and his friends for a couple hundred dollars. Those “friends” allegedly included people like Prince Andrew, the then-Duke of York, Les Wexner, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, and our very own Donald Trump.
Ghislaine and Jeffrey were partners in crime in the worst way, and now, she is being indicted on six charges, including transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy counts related to those charges, and perjury.
Almost exactly a year ago today, on July 6, 2019, Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on federal charges for sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. He pleaded not guilty to both counts of sex trafficking of a minor and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, and was denied bail. On August 10, he was found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide. Two correctional guards who were assigned to his cell the night he died were indicted on federal charges for multiple counts of falsifying records and conspiracy. So… uh… while I certainly hope that Ghislaine remains in prison and names names, I have a feeling those “Epstein didn’t kill himself” memes are going to get a rebrand.
In November 2019, Prince Andrew stepped back from public duties after his association with Epstein came under public scrutiny again, and days after he gave a train wreck of an interview to the BBC (that no one really asked him for). In the interview, he claimed he didn’t remember ever meeting Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims who alleged she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew, even though there is a photo of them together. Giuffre previously claimed she met Prince Andrew at a nightclub and he was sweating all over her as they danced together, which Prince Andrew refuted based in part on the fact that he “didn’t sweat at the time” due to a medical condition.
Below, a live look at Prince Andrew after hearing the news about Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest:
Prince Andrew is not mentioned by name in the indictment, and the charges pertain to Maxwell’s dealings with Epstein between 1994 and 1997, before Giuffre’s encounters with the Prince, which allegedly occurred in 2001. Still, Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said at a press conference Thursday afternoon that she’d “welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us.” I’m sure he’ll get right on that.
After nearly a year of her whereabouts being largely unknown to the public, Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire. She should probably sleep with one eye open.
Images: Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Giphy