|Intro||British socialite, daughter of Robert Maxwell|
|From||United Kingdom United States of America France|
|Birth||25 December 1961, Maisons-Laffitte, arrondissement of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Yvelines, France|
|Residence||Belgravia, City of Westminster, Greater London, United Kingdom|
Ghislaine Noelle Marion Maxwell (/ˌɡiːˈleɪn, -ˈlɛn/ ghee-LAYN, -LEN; born 25 December 1961) is a British former socialite, convicted of sex trafficking and other offences connected with the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. She worked for her father Robert Maxwell until his death in 1991, when she moved to the United States and became a close associate of Epstein. Maxwell founded a non-profit group for the protection of oceans, The TerraMar Project, in 2012. The organisation announced cessation of operations on 12 July 2019, a week after the sex trafficking charges brought by New York federal prosecutors against Epstein became public. Maxwell is a naturalised US citizen but retains citizenship of the UK and France.
On 2 July 2020, Maxwell was arrested and charged by the federal government of the United States with the crimes of enticement of minors and sex trafficking of underage girls, related to her association with Epstein. On 29 December 2021, she was convicted on five counts, including one of sex trafficking of a child.
Ghislaine Maxwell was born in 1961, in Maisons-Laffitte, Yvelines, France, the ninth and youngest child of Elisabeth (née Meynard), a French-born scholar, and Robert Maxwell, a Czechoslovak-born British media proprietor. Her father was from a Jewish family, and her mother was of Huguenot (French Protestant) descent. Maxwell was born two days before a car accident that left her fifteen-year-old brother Michael in a prolonged coma until his death in 1967. Her mother later reflected that the accident had an effect on the entire family, and surmised that Ghislaine had shown signs of anorexia while still a toddler. Throughout childhood, Ghislaine lived with her family in Oxford at Headington Hill Hall, a 53-room mansion, where the offices of Pergamon Press, a publishing company run by Robert Maxwell, were also located. Her mother has said that all her children were brought up as Anglicans. She studied at Oxford High School for Girls in North Oxford. Maxwell was enrolled at Edgarley Hall boarding school in Somerset aged nine, followed by Headington School at thirteen. Maxwell attended Marlborough College where she studied modern history with languages before going on to earn a degree from Balliol College, Oxford in 1985.
Maxwell had a close relationship with her father and was widely credited with being her father's favourite. According to Tatler, Maxwell recalled that her father installed computers at Headington in 1973 and her first job was training to use a Wang and later programming code. The Times reported that he did not permit Ghislaine to bring her boyfriends home or to be seen with them publicly, after she started attending Oxford University.
Ghislaine Maxwell was a prominent member of the London social scene in the 1980s. She founded a women's club named after the original Kit-Cat Club and was a director of Oxford United Football Club during her father's ownership. She also worked at The European, a publication Robert Maxwell had established. According to Tom Bower, writing for The Sunday Times, in 1986 Robert Maxwell invited her to the naming in her honour of his new yacht the Lady Ghislaine, at a shipyard in the Netherlands. Maxwell spent a large amount of time in the late 1980s aboard the yacht, which was equipped with a Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and disco. The Scotsman said Robert Maxwell had also "tailor-made a New York company for her". The company, which dealt in corporate gifts, was not profitable.
The Sunday Times reported that Ghislaine Maxwell flew to New York on 5 November 1990 to deliver an envelope on her father's behalf that, unknown to her, was part of "a plot initiated by her father to steal $200m" from Berlitz shareholders.
After Robert Maxwell purchased the New York Daily News in January 1991, he sent Ghislaine to New York City to act as his emissary. In May 1991, Maxwell and her father took Concorde on business to New York, from where he soon departed for Moscow and left her to represent his interests at an event honouring Simon Wiesenthal.
In November 1991, Robert Maxwell's body was found floating in the sea near the Canary Islands and the Lady Ghislaine. Soon afterwards, Ghislaine flew to Tenerife, where the yacht was berthed, to attend to his business paperwork. Ghislaine attended her father's funeral in Jerusalem alongside Israeli intelligence figures, president Chaim Herzog, and prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, who gave his eulogy. Although a verdict of death by accidental drowning was recorded, Maxwell has since said she believes her father was murdered, commenting in 1997: "He did not commit suicide. That was just not consistent with his character. I think he was murdered." After his death, Robert Maxwell was found to have fraudulently appropriated the pension assets of Mirror Group Newspapers, a company that he ran and in which he held a large share of ownership, to support its share price. Pension funds in excess of £400m were said to be missing, and 32,000 people were affected. Two of Maxwell's brothers, Ian and Kevin, who were the most involved with their father in daily business dealings, were arrested on 19 June 1992 and charged with fraud related to the Mirror Group pension scandal. The brothers were acquitted three and a half years later in January 1996.
Ghislaine Maxwell moved to the United States in 1991, shortly after her father's death. She was photographed boarding a Concorde to cross the Atlantic. Maxwell was provided with an annual income of £80,000 from a trust fund established in Liechtenstein by her father. By 1992, she had moved to an apartment of an Iranian friend overlooking Central Park. At the time, Maxwell worked at a real estate office on Madison Avenue and was reported to be socialising with celebrities. She quickly rose to wider prominence as a New York City socialite.
Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein
Accounts differ on when Maxwell first met American financier Jeffrey Epstein. According to Epstein's former business partner, Steven Hoffenberg, Robert Maxwell introduced his daughter to Epstein in the late 1980s. The Times reported that Maxwell met Epstein in the early 1990s at a New York party following "a difficult break-up with Count Gianfranco Cicogna Mozzoni" (1962–2012) of the CIGA Hotels clan.
Maxwell had a romantic relationship with Epstein for several years in the early 1990s and remained closely associated with him for more than 25 years until his death in 2019. The nature of their relationship remains unclear. In a 2009 deposition, several of Epstein's household employees testified that Epstein referred to her as his "main girlfriend" who also hired, fired, and supervised his staff, starting around 1992. She has also been referred to as the "Lady of the House" by Epstein's staff and as his "aggressive assistant". In a 2003 Vanity Fair profile on Epstein, author Vicky Ward said Epstein referred to Maxwell as "my best friend". Ward also observed that Maxwell seemed "to organize much of his life".
Politico reported that Maxwell and Epstein had friendships with several prominent individuals in elite circles of politics, academia, business and law, including former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, attorney Alan Dershowitz, and Prince Andrew, Duke of York.
Maxwell is known for her longstanding friendship with Prince Andrew, and for having escorted him to a "hookers and pimps" social function in New York. She introduced Epstein to Prince Andrew, and the three often socialised together. In 2000, Maxwell and Epstein attended a party thrown by Prince Andrew at the Queen's Sandringham House estate in Norfolk, England, reportedly for Maxwell's 39th birthday. In a November 2019 interview with the BBC, Prince Andrew confirmed that Maxwell and Epstein had attended an event at his invitation, but he denied that it was anything more than a "straightforward shooting weekend".
In 1995, Epstein renamed one of his companies the Ghislaine Corporation; based in Palm Beach, Florida, the company was dissolved in 1998. As a trained helicopter pilot, Maxwell also transported Epstein to his private Caribbean island.
In 2008, Epstein was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution and served 13 months of an 18-month jail sentence. Following Epstein's release, although Maxwell continued to attend prominent social functions, she and Epstein were no longer seen together publicly.
By late 2015, Maxwell had largely retreated from attending social functions.
Civil cases and accusations
Virginia Giuffre v. Maxwell (2015)
Details of a civil lawsuit, made public in January 2015, contained a deposition from "Jane Doe 3" that accused Maxwell of recruiting her in 1999, when she was a minor, and grooming her to provide sexual services for Epstein. A 2018 exposé by Julie K. Brown in the Miami Herald revealed Jane Doe 3 to be Virginia Giuffre, who was previously known as Virginia Roberts. Giuffre met Maxwell at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, when Giuffre was a 16-year-old spa attendant. She asserted that Maxwell had introduced her to Epstein, after which she was "groomed by the two [of them] for his pleasure, including lessons in Epstein's preferences during oral sex".
Maxwell has repeatedly denied any involvement in Epstein's crimes. In a 2015 statement, Maxwell rejected allegations that she has acted as a procurer for Epstein and denied that she had "facilitated Prince Andrew's [alleged] acts of sexual abuse". Her spokesperson said "the allegations made against Ghislaine Maxwell are untrue" and she "strongly denies allegations of an unsavoury nature, which have appeared in the British press and elsewhere, and reserves her right to seek redress at the repetition of such old defamatory claims".
Giuffre asserted that Maxwell and Epstein had trafficked her and other underage girls, often at sex parties hosted by Epstein at his homes in New York, New Mexico, Palm Beach, and the United States Virgin Islands. Maxwell called her a liar. Giuffre sued Maxwell for defamation in federal court in the Southern District of New York in 2015. While details of the settlement have not been made public, in May 2017 the case was settled in Giuffre's favour, with Maxwell paying Giuffre "millions".
Sarah Ransome v. Epstein and Maxwell (2017)
In 2017, Sarah Ransome filed a suit, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, against Epstein and Maxwell, alleging that Maxwell hired her to give massages to Epstein and later threatened to physically harm her or destroy her career prospects if she did not comply with their sexual demands at his mansion in New York and on his private Caribbean island, Little Saint James. The suit was settled in 2018 under undisclosed terms.
Affidavit filed by Maria Farmer (2019)
On 16 April 2019, Maria Farmer went public and filed a sworn affidavit in federal court in New York, alleging that she and her 15-year-old sister, Annie, had been sexually assaulted by Epstein and Maxwell in separate locations in 1996. Farmer's affidavit was filed in support of a defamation suit by Virginia Giuffre against Alan Dershowitz. According to the affidavit, Farmer had met Maxwell and Epstein at a New York art gallery reception in 1995. The affidavit says that in the summer of the following year, they hired her to work on an art project in billionaire businessman Leslie Wexner's Ohio mansion, where she was then sexually assaulted by both Maxwell and Epstein. Farmer reported the incident to the New York Police Department and the FBI. Her affidavit also stated that during the same summer, Epstein flew her then 15-year-old sister, Annie, to his New Mexico property where he and Maxwell molested her on a massage table.
Farmer was interviewed for CBS This Morning in November 2019 where she detailed the 1996 assault and alleged that Maxwell had repeatedly threatened both her career and her life after the assault.
Jennifer Araoz v. Epstein's estate, Maxwell, and Jane Does 1–3 (2019)
On 14 August 2019, Jennifer Araoz filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court against Epstein's estate, Maxwell, and three unnamed members of his staff; the lawsuit was made possible under New York state's new Child Victims Act, which took effect on the same date. Araoz later amended her complaint on 8 October 2019 with the names of the previously unidentified women enablers to include Lesley Groff, Cimberly Espinosa, and the late Rosalyn Fontanilla.
Priscilla Doe v. Epstein's estate (2019)
Ghislaine Maxwell was named in one of three lawsuits filed in New York on 20 August 2019 against the estate of Jeffrey Epstein. The woman filing the suit, identified as "Priscilla Doe", claimed that she was recruited in 2006 and trained by Maxwell with step-by-step instructions on how to provide sexual services for Epstein.
Annie Farmer v. Maxwell and Epstein's Estate (2019)
Annie Farmer, represented by David Boies, sued Maxwell and Epstein's estate in Federal District Court in Manhattan in November 2019, accusing them of rape, battery and false imprisonment and seeking unspecified damages.
Jane Doe v. Maxwell and Epstein's Estate (2020)
In January 2020, a lawsuit was filed against Maxwell and Epstein alleging that they recruited a 13-year-old music student at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in the summer of 1994 and subjected her to sexual abuse. The suit states that Jane Doe was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Epstein over a four-year period and that Maxwell played a key role both in her recruitment and by participating in the assaults. According to the lawsuit, Jane Doe was targeted by Epstein and Maxwell for being fatherless and from a struggling family, in much the same manner as many of the other alleged victims.
Maxwell v. Epstein's Estate, Darren K. Indyke, Richard D. Kahn, and NES LLC (2020)
On 12 March 2020, Maxwell filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in the US Virgin Islands seeking compensation from Epstein's estate for her legal costs. Maxwell claimed she had been a longtime employee of Epstein (from 1998 to 2006) who had served to manage his property holdings in the US Virgin Islands, New York, New Mexico, Florida and Paris while continuing to deny any knowledge or involvement in his criminal activities. According to the lawsuit, Maxwell was seeking damages for the legal fees associated with defending herself against her accusers, expenses that she claims Epstein had promised to cover for her.
Jane Doe v. Epstein's estate (2021)
Maxwell was named in a civil suit filed against Epstein's estate in March 2021 by a Broward County woman who accused Epstein and Maxwell of trafficking her after repeatedly raping her in Florida in 2008.
Dispute over release of court documents
On 2 July 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered the unsealing of documents from the earlier civil suit against Maxwell by Virginia Giuffre. Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on 6 July 2019 at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy.
Maxwell requested a rehearing in a federal appeals court on 17 July 2019, in an effort to keep documents sealed that were part of a suit by Giuffre. On 9 August 2019, the first batch of documents was unsealed and released from the earlier defamation suit by Giuffre against Maxwell. Epstein was found dead on 10 August 2019, after reportedly hanging himself in his Manhattan prison cell.
Maxwell and her lawyers continued to argue against the further release of court documents in December 2019. Reuters confirmed on 27 December 2019 that Maxwell was under investigation by the FBI for facilitating Epstein's criminal activities.
Additional documents from the Giuffre v. Maxwell defamation suit were released on 30 July 2020. The documents included a deposition given by Giuffre and more recent email exchanges between Maxwell and Epstein, with some of the correspondence from 2015.
Court livestream controversy
On 19 January 2021, a court hearing was disrupted by believers in QAnon – who believe Maxwell to be working in cohort with a cabal of child-sacrificing Satanist liberal elites who traffic children for sex – as the proceedings were illegally livestreamed to YouTube.
Arrest and indictment
Attempts to locate Maxwell to serve court documents
On 27 December 2019, Reuters reported that Maxwell was among those under FBI investigation for facilitating Epstein. After his arrest, Maxwell was in hiding, communicating with the courts only through her lawyers who, as of 30 January 2020, had refused to accept on her behalf service of three lawsuits against her. The New York Times reported that by 2016, Maxwell was no longer being photographed at events. By 2017, her lawyers claimed before a judge that they did not know her address; they further stated that she was in London but they did not believe she had a permanent residence.
Maxwell has a history of being unreachable during legal proceedings. During the lawsuit filed in 2017 from Ransome against Maxwell, District Judge John G. Koeltl granted a motion for "alternative service" on the grounds that the plaintiff's efforts to reach Maxwell were persistently thwarted; these included hiring a private investigation firm that attempted service at three physical addresses, sending information to several email addresses, and reaching out to the lawyers actively representing Maxwell in another lawsuit who refused to become a "general agent of process" to relay the information to her.
According to court documents from a lawsuit filed by Epstein against Bradley Edwards (a representative for several of his accusers), in 2010 Maxwell had agreed to provide a deposition in the case but reportedly left the country one day before Edwards was scheduled to fly to New York to take her deposition, "claiming she needed to return to the United Kingdom to be with her deathly ill mother" with no intention of returning to the United States. However, Maxwell returned within a month to attend Chelsea Clinton's wedding.
In January 2020, it was reported that Maxwell had refused to allow her lawyers to be served with several lawsuits in which she has been directly named in 2019 and 2020, including one by Farmer and from Araoz. While Maxwell's lawyers continued to argue on her behalf against the release of additional court documents from the Giuffre v. Maxwell lawsuit, they claimed to not know where she is or to have permission to accept the recent lawsuits filed against her.
Authorities in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) were unsuccessful in locating Maxwell during the three and a half months they were seeking to serve her with a subpoena. USVI prosecutors consider Maxwell to be a "critical fact witness" in their lawsuit against Epstein's estate. A court filing from the USVI Department of Justice, released on 10 July 2020, stated that Maxwell was also under investigation for her alleged participation in Epstein's sex trafficking operation in the US Virgin Islands.
Arrest in July 2020
Maxwell faced persistent allegations of procuring and sexually trafficking underage girls for Epstein and others, charges she has denied. Maxwell was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire by the FBI on 2 July 2020, through the use of an IMSI-catcher ("stingray") mobile phone tracking device on a phone used by her to call one of her lawyers, her husband Scott Borgerson, and her sister Isabel.
Maxwell was charged with enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children, and perjury. On 14 July 2020, federal Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York denied Maxwell bail after determining that her risks of fleeing "are simply too great". Prosecutors, led by United States District Attorney Audrey Strauss, charged her with six federal crimes, including enticement of minors, sex trafficking, and perjury. The indictment charged that between 1994 and 1997, she "assisted, facilitated, and contributed" to the abuse of minor girls despite knowing that one of three unnamed victims was 14 years old.
As of 28 April 2021, Maxwell was being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn, New York. Lawyers requested that Judge Nathan release her on $5 million bond with monitored home confinement while awaiting trial. Maxwell's attorney reiterated her request for bail on 18 December 2020, her attorneys indicating that Maxwell could reside with a friend in New York City during which time she would be under 24-hour surveillance as she awaited her July trial if she was released on bail. She would not be staying with Borgerson, who has made a secured offer of US$22 million to guarantee her presence at future appearances. The bail request was considered by Judge Nathan, who rejected a US$5 million bail package for Maxwell in July 2020. At that time, Nathan had agreed with prosecutors that Maxwell was an "extreme flight risk." Maxwell had appeared by video link before a court in Manhattan on 14 July 2020. She pleaded not guilty to the charges. A naturalised US citizen since 2002 who also holds passports from France and the United Kingdom, Maxwell was denied bail as a flight risk amid concerns regarding her "completely opaque" finances, her skill at living in hiding, and the fact that France does not extradite its citizens. Her lawyers argued unsuccessfully that she was at risk of catching COVID-19 in detention. The judge set a trial date of 12 July 2021.
On 28 December 2020, a further request for bail was again rejected by a judge. Maxwell's bail request was opposed by alleged victim Annie Farmer.
On 26 January 2021, a motion by Maxwell's attorneys challenged her grand jury indictment, claiming that it did not reflect the ethnic diversity of the jurisdiction in which the violations of the law were alleged to have occurred.
On 29 March 2021, US prosecutors added new charges of sex trafficking a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy, alleging that Maxwell was involved in grooming a fourth girl, aged 14, to engage in sexual acts with Epstein between 2001 and 2004 at his Palm Beach estate. Maxwell appeared in court on 23 April 2021 and pleaded not guilty to the additional charges; she faces six counts that include sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy, in addition to two counts of perjury.
Maxwell's attorneys have regularly protested about the conditions of her confinement. These include being kept awake by a light shined in her eyes every fifteen minutes to deter the chances of her committing suicide, and being denied a sleep mask. One, David Marcus, protested, "There's no evidence she's suicidal. They're doing it because Jeffrey Epstein died on their watch", and that, "She's not Jeffrey Epstein, this isn't right".
In April 2021, US District Judge Alison Nathan ruled that Maxwell will face two separate trials, one for the sex trafficking charges and another for perjury. In May 2021, Nathan delayed the trial to 29 November 2021 after Maxwell's defence lawyers successfully argued that the sex trafficking charges added in March 2021 gave them insufficient time to investigate the new charges and prepare for trial. Maxwell appeared in court on Monday 15 November 2021. If convicted she could be imprisoned for up to 80 years. The trial commenced on 29 November 2021 with opening statements. Twelve jurors had been picked, plus six alternates, from a pool of forty to sixty people.
It was announced in November 2021 that psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, an expert on false memory syndrome, would be called as an expert witness for the defense.
On 29 December 2021, Maxwell was convicted by a jury in US federal court on five sex trafficking-related counts carrying a potential custodial sentence of up to 65 years imprisonment: one of sex trafficking of a minor (maximum: 40 years), one of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity (10 years) and three of conspiracy to commit also-charged choate felonies (15 years total).
She was acquitted on the charge of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. Her family said they had commenced the appeal process.
In 2012, Maxwell founded The TerraMar Project, a nonprofit organisation that advocated the protection of oceans. She gave a lecture for TerraMar at the University of Texas at Dallas and a TED talk, at TEDx Charlottesville in 2014. Maxwell accompanied Stuart Beck, a 2013 TerraMar board member, to two United Nations meetings to discuss the project.
The TerraMar Project announced closure on 12 July 2019, less than a week after the charges of sex trafficking brought by New York federal prosecutors against Epstein became public. An associated, UK-based company, Terramar (UK), listed Maxwell as a director. An application for the United Kingdom organisation to be closed was made on 4 September 2019, with the first notice in The London Gazette made on 17 September 2019. The company Terramar (UK) was listed as officially dissolved on 3 December 2019.
Since at least 1997, Maxwell has maintained a residence in Belgravia, London. In 2000, Maxwell moved into a 7,000 sq ft (650 m) townhouse on East 65th Street, New York City, fewer than 10 blocks from Epstein's mansion. Maxwell's townhouse was purchased for US$4.95 million by an anonymous limited liability company, with an address that matches the office of J. Epstein & Co. Representing the buyer was Darren Indyke, Epstein's longtime lawyer. In April 2016, the New York townhouse where she had lived was sold for US$15 million.
Following her personal and professional involvement with Epstein, Maxwell was romantically linked for several years to Ted Waitt, founder of Gateway Computers. She attended the wedding of Chelsea Clinton in 2010 as Waitt's guest. Maxwell helped Waitt obtain and renovate a luxury yacht, the Plan B, and used it for travel to France and Croatia before their relationship ended, in late 2010 or early 2011.
On 15 August 2019, reports surfaced that Maxwell had been living in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, in the home of Scott Borgerson, who in October 2020, due to the publicity surrounding Maxwell, stepped down as CEO of CargoMetrics, a hedge fund investment company involved in maritime data analytics. Maxwell and Borgerson were described as having been in a romantic relationship for several years. Locals in the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea said Maxwell had kept a low profile, went by "G" instead of her full first name, and had been seen on several occasions walking a Vizsla dog along the beach.
Borgerson and Maxwell filed documents in Massachusetts Land Court about Borgerson's residence, known as Phippin House, during a civil dispute with neighbours regarding rescinded access rights to the larger Sharksmouth Estate in 2019. A neighbouring property manager attested that Maxwell and Borgerson were living together at the property in question. Others have said they had been seen repeatedly running together in the mornings.
Borgerson stated in August 2019 that Maxwell was not currently living at the home and that he did not know where she was. On 15 August 2019, the New York Post published photographs of Maxwell dining at a fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles, claiming that "The Post found the socialite hiding in plain sight in the least likely place imaginable — a fast-food joint in Los Angeles". The photos were later proven to have been taken at a meeting with Maxwell's friend and attorney Leah Saffian, who also gave other pictures to the Daily Mail.
Maxwell moved to a remote 156-acre (63 ha) property in Bradford, New Hampshire in late 2019, where she used former British military personnel as personal security until her arrest in July 2020. At the time of her arraignment, federal prosecutors stated that Maxwell was married; she did not disclose the identity of her spouse (or their respective finances).
In December 2020, it emerged that she had married Borgerson in 2016.