Convicted sex offender and millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein is at the center of Netflix's Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. The documentary, which focuses on Epstein's life, death, and crimes, features some of the victims of his sex trafficking, allowing them to tell their side on what happened many years ago. It also introduces some of the other people in Epstein's life who have been tied to his crimes, and one of them is his ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell paraded around at parties with Epstein for years before breaking ties with him and then fully pulling away from the public eye in recent years until her arrest in connection to Epstein's crimes in July 2020. Here's everything you need to know about the late Epstein's close friend.
Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Maxwell is a British socialite and daughter of media tycoon Robert Maxwell. She moved to the US after her famous father died in 1991 and met Epstein around the same time. They reportedly dated for a few years, but later became just being friends. In fact, in a 2003 Vanity Fair profile on Epstein, Maxwell is referred to as Epstein's best friend, and according to the story, "He tells people that when a relationship is over the girlfriend 'moves up, not down, to friendship status." It was Maxwell, according to CNN, who introduced Epstein to many high-profile people in his social circle.
Was Ghislaine Maxwell Involved in Jeffrey Epstein's Crimes?
Several of Epstein's accusers have also accused Maxwell of being involved. One accuser, Virginia Giuffre, claimed that Maxwell acted as a madame to coordinate sexual relations with Prince Andrew and Epstein. Giuffre reported that in 2001, she had sex — while underage — with Prince Andrew at Maxwell's residence in London, a claim that Maxwell has denied.
CNN reported that more of Epstein's accusers have said Maxwell took part in the sexual abuse by facilitating the encounters over the years. Some said that she was the one who found the underage victims involved in Epstein's sex-trafficking ring and connected them with high-profile people in Epstein's circle.
Was Ghislaine Maxwell Prosecuted For Jeffrey Epstein's Crimes?
Though for years accusers brought allegations against Maxwell in connection to Epstein, she didn't faced charges at the time of Epstein's arrest. It was a year after that Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire in connection to Epstein's sex-trafficking crimes.
After distancing herself from Epstein about a decade ago, she largely fell out of the public eye. ABC News reported earlier this year that her accusers were struggling to bring charges against her because she couldn't be tracked down. However, according to the story, "Maxwell, represented by attorneys from a Colorado law firm, is currently contesting the disclosure of previously sealed documents in a now-settled defamation lawsuit brought against her in federal court in New York by Giuffre."
Maxwell finally resurfaced in March to bring her own charges against Epstein's estate, alleging that he "had promised to pay her legal fees for any claims from the dozens of women who say she helped him recruit them to give him massages when they were teenagers," according to The New York Times. In her lawsuit, Maxwell claims she has incurred legal fees for being incorrectly tied to Epstein's sex-trafficking ring. She maintains she was not involved in any way.
Where Is Ghislaine Maxwell Now?
Maxwell fell almost completely off the grid over the past few years. She began distancing herself from Epstein around 2008, when he served time for soliciting a minor for prostitution. She stopped going to social functions completely a few years later, and until early this year, when she showed up to file the lawsuit against Epstein's estate, she had almost completely disappeared. Currently, she's in police custody as she awaits charges for her role in Epstein's crimes.