Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of the late Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in New Hampshire Thursday, according to the FBI.
Maxwell, who lived for years with Epstein and was his frequent travel companion on trips around the world, was taken into custody around 8:30 a.m., said FBI spokesman Marty Feely.
An indictment made public Thursday said Maxwell “assisted, facilitated and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse ” girls under age 18. She has long faced allegations of procuring underage girls for him, earning the nickname of Epstein’s “madam.” Reuters reported in December that the FBI was investigating Maxwell.
One Epstein victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, claimed that Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew at her London townhouse. Giuffre bolstered her allegations with a picture of her, Andrew and Giuffre that she said was taken at the time. Andrew denied her story.
Maxwell was described in a lawsuit by another Epstein victim, Sarah Ransome, as the “highest-ranking employee” of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking enterprise. She oversaw and trained recruiters, developed recruiting plans and helped conceal the activity from law enforcement, the lawsuit alleged.
Maxwell was accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges.
The indictment included counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury.
Epstein — who had once run in elite circles, flying celebrities and politicians to his private domain dubbed “Lolita Island” — was convicted in 2008 for soliciting an underage prostitute, a 14-year-old girl. However, his brief sentence allowed for 72 hours of “work release” every week. After many years of simmering complaints regarding his light plea deal, federal prosecutors charged Epstein on additional counts of sex trafficking of minors. Months later, he died in prison, setting off a flurry of debate over whether his untimely death was a suicide or murder.
The mystery of Epstein’s demise has been compounded by bizarre and infrequent developments on Maxwell. As the public speculated about her whereabouts, the New York Post obtained a photo of her sitting outside an In-n-Out Burger holding The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives — yet closer examination showed the image was likely photoshopped. Maxwell’s lawyers claimed this January that her personal emails had been hacked in an ongoing civil case with Ms. Giuffre, and months later she sued Epstein’s estate to help pay for her legal bills.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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