Ghislaine Maxwell, the ex-girlfriend of convicted sex offender and millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 28 for her role in helping Epstein abuse underage girls, per AP News.
Ghislaine Maxwell is the subject of the Starz documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?", released on June 24. It follows Maxwell's role in helping Epstein sexually abuse minors. Maxwell paraded around at parties with Epstein for years before breaking ties with him, fully pulling away from the public eye in recent years until her arrest in connection to Epstein's crimes in July 2020. Epstein's crimes were chronicled in the 2020 Netflix documentary, "Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich."
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 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 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.
In 2019, 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 face 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. But she resurfaced in March 2020 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 claimed she had incurred legal fees for being incorrectly tied to Epstein's sex-trafficking ring and maintained that she was not involved in any way.
In December 2021, Maxwell was convicted of sex trafficking, as well as persuading minors to travel across state lines to participate in illegal sexual activities and transporting the minors in question. On June 28, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Where Is Ghislaine Maxwell Now?
Maxwell fell almost completely off the grid in the past few years prior to her arrest. 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 she showed up in 2020 to file the lawsuit against Epstein's estate, she had almost completely disappeared.
She has been held in a cell in the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York since July 2020.