New Charges for Accused Epstein Sex-Ring Recruiter

Ghislaine Maxwell faces new sex-trafficking counts in Manhattan federal court involving a fourth underage victim prosecutors say she recruited in the early 2000s.

A federal prosecutor points to a photo of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell during a news conference in New York last July. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

MANHATTAN (CN) — The associate of the late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein charged with helping him recruit victims into a sex ring faces new charges in Manhattan federal court that include sex trafficking a minor and sex-trafficking conspiracy. 

Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, now faces eight counts, up from the previous six, related to her alleged involvement in a sex ring run by Epstein, her ex-boyfriend, that included victims as young as 14 years old. 

Previous charges against Maxwell concern involvement during the mid-1990s. The time range is now expanded to include activity from 2001 to 2004, during which Maxwell is accused of roping a fourth underage girl into Epstein’s sex-trafficking scheme. 

A Manhattan grand jury returned the second superseding indictment on Monday, adding to previous counts that include perjury, for Maxwell’s allegedly lying under oath during a 2016 deposition.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York say that Epstein’s employees, including Maxwell, would call victims to schedule an appointment for the victim to massage Epstein at his Palm Beach, Florida, residence. 

“When a victim initially arrived at the Palm Beach residence , she would be greeted by an employee of Epstein’s, including, at times,” Maxwell, the indictment states.

According to prosecutors, the victim would then be escorted to a room with a massage table and would provide a nude or semi-nude massage for Epstein, who would typically also be naked and would “escalate the nature and scope of the physical contact to include sex acts,” like groping victims, masturbating and using sex toys. 

Maxwell is accused of paying victims hundreds of dollars in cash for the encounters, and of facilitating Epstein’s access to minor victims “knowing that he had a sexual preference for underage girls,” the indictment says. 

In the superseding indictment, prosecutors also say that Maxwell on multiple occasions sent the fourth underage victim gifts on Epstein’s behalf, including lingerie, from an address in Manhattan to her home in Florida. 

Maxwell is accused of encouraging the fourth victim to recruit other young women to be abused by Epstein. When the victim brought in new recruits to give Epstein sexual massages, both would be paid, court documents say.

Arrested in July 2020 at a 156-acre estate in New Hampshire, Maxwell is said to have, at times, participated in the alleged sex acts herself. 

The British socialite faces a possible sentence of 35 years if convicted. She is being held in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Detention Complex in Brooklyn, after a bid to be released to home confinement, on a $28.5 million bail as security, was denied by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan.

“The court concludes that the government has met its burden of persuasion that the defendant poses a flight risk and that pretrial detention continues to be warranted,” wrote Nathan, an Obama appointee, who had first denied Maxwell’s bail request after her arraignment.

The two-page order continues, “Furthermore, for substantially the same reasons as the court determined that detention was warranted in the initial bail hearing, the court again concludes that no conditions of release can reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance at future proceedings.”

Maxwell’s trial is scheduled to begin in July. Documents unsealed last month showed that her attorneys intend to seek immunity for the British socialite by invoking Epstein’s nonprosecution agreement from 2006. 

In the now-unsealed filing from Jan. 25, attorney Mark Cohen wrote that the government and authorities investigated Epstein for alleged conduct that is “essentially identical” to the conduct alleged in Maxwell’s indictment, but did not bring charges against Maxwell.

Maxwell’s team has also attacked prosecutors, saying the grand jury came from suburban White Plains, rather than New York City, in order to rush Maxwell’s arrest to take place one year, almost to the day, after Epstein’s arrest — a month before he was found dead in his jail cell.

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