The damning case against Ghislaine: The lawyer who devoted his life to nailing paedophile Jeffrey Epstein uncovered evidence that his socialite friend not only helped him procure young girls – but that she abused some too
American lawyer Bradley Edwards made it his life’s mission on behalf of countless young female victims to put Jeffrey Epstein behind bars. Following the billionaire paedophile’s death, he has written a book, Relentless Pursuit, stories from which we are summarising. Last week, we told how teenager Virginia Roberts’s life was devastated after Epstein introduced her to Prince Andrew. Here, we recount the book’s shocking claims about the complicity of Ghislaine Maxwell…
Hidden inside the bags of rubbish seized by police from Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion in the billionaire area of Palm Beach Island, not far from Donald Trump’s Mara-Lago Club, was a set of old-style telephone message pads.
For detectives investigating troubling reports of sexual abuse involving local teenagers, they were gold-dust. Handwritten messages revealed the names of everybody who had phoned Epstein’s home over a period of months in 2005.
Regular callers included Trump, the magician David Copperfield and the former US national security adviser Sandy Berger. There were also numerous messages from girls.
Ghislaine Maxwell was a well-known and well-liked socialite. Seen here attending the Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala at the Waldorf Astoria on October 26th, 2010
Young women with names like Courtney, Lynn, Molly, Holly and Rebecca would call with messages such as ‘Has girl for tonight’ or, ‘Wondering if she can work tomorrow.’
At least three girls a day were scheduled to go to the house, sometimes with little time between appointments.
‘Samantha hadn’t confirmed Veronica for 11am yet, so she is keeping Becki on hold in case Veronica doesn’t call back’, read one message.
‘Becki is available on Tuesday. No one for tomorrow’, said another.
And so it went on. The need for a constant flow of girls was clear. All were, shockingly, later identified as underage girls being paid to ‘work’ as sexual masseuses inside Epstein’s mansion.
Logically, one adult had to be at the top of the pyramid of recruiters. Most messages were taken by the butler and other members of staff.
But another name cropped up frequently: Ghislaine Maxwell. Although once well known as the daughter of the disgraced, deceased media tycoon Robert Maxwell, her name meant little to US detectives at the time.
Only as their investigations continued would the crucial role in the Epstein story played by this privileged, public-school and Oxford-educated British socialite finally emerge.
Despite her strenuous and consistent denials, Maxwell would eventually stand accused by numerous of Epstein’s alleged victims of not only recruiting underage girls to feed his voracious and depraved sexual appetite, but of instructing them in ways to please him and even, according to some, being involved in the abuse herself.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were described as being ‘Bonnie and Clyde’
She would also reveal a talent for making herself invisible that continues to this day.
In 2008, lawyer Bradley Edwards was preparing to represent a group of alleged victims as part of an 11-year investigation which became his personal life’s mission, and during which the more he learned, the more determined he was to bring Epstein’s manipulation and abuse to an end.
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office passed Edwards phone messages from Epstein’s house. It soon became clear that Ghislaine Maxwell was the witness that he most needed to speak to.
Who was she, and what was her role in Jeffrey Epstein’s life?
An elegant woman with a distinctive British accent, Ghislaine had short dark hair and captivating, warm facial features. Those Edwards spoke to described her as fun, funny and a social chameleon, as open-minded as she was intelligent – able to blend in with high and low society as it suited her.
It is Ghislaine (right), a well-connected socialite, who introduced Prince Andrew to Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew is seen here with accuser Virgina Roberts (centre)
Her circle in London included the highest-powered businessmen and members of the Royal Family. She could sit at a dinner table having the most sophisticated conversation with a brilliant scientist and an hour later attend a burlesque show and make the raunchiest joke.
As Edwards researched her background, there was a wealth of publicly available information regarding the mysterious death of her father, who had drowned aged 68 after ‘falling’ from his megayacht, the Lady Ghislaine, in 1991.
The most popularly reported theories were that he committed suicide or that his involvement as a super-spy for Israel’s elite intelligence agency Mossad got him murdered. Ultimately, his death was ruled an accident.
These suspicions are strikingly similar to those surrounding Epstein’s death in a prison cell last August. Maxwell’s daughter was crucial to understanding Epstein’s sexual deviancy. She was the one woman who, by all appearances, he treated as his equal.
Virginia Roberts claims that she was forced to have sex with both Jeffrey Epstein and Andrew
Sometimes she even referred to him privately as her husband. After losing her father, Ghislaine, his favourite child, had been heartbroken. She was also virtually penniless after it emerged that he had stolen nearly £500million from employee pension funds.
Humiliated and distraught, she fled Britain for the United States. Shortly afterwards, she met Epstein, and so began one of the most extraordinary relationships ever documented.
For the best part of two decades, the pair were inseparable, sleeping in the same bed and travelling together on private planes all over the world. She knew his secrets and could not credibly deny all of them.
At the height of their relationship, Maxwell, with her high-society connections, had everything that Epstein needed – while in material terms he had everything she could possibly ever want, and more.
One of Epstein’s former butlers said Maxwell kept typed lists on her computer – her little black book – of the names of girls, who she called ‘my children’ and who gave massages.
Ghislaine Maxwell has successfully evaded prosecution for her part in the Epstein scandal
But here was the interesting part.
As soon as the Palm Beach criminal investigation began, Maxwell became a ghost. She completely distanced herself from Epstein, later claiming that she had no longer been a part of his life between 2001 and 2005, when sex crimes against dozens of underage girls had been committed.
This looked like someone with a guilty conscience – even more reason to track her down. But she had her connections and Epstein’s financial resources, and was able to make herself extremely difficult to locate.
This would prove to be her modus operandi for many years to come. Edwards needed her testimony in the form of a deposition – a statement given outside the court system, but under oath.
But how was he to serve the subpoena, or summons, forcing her to give the evidence he needed, when she was so elusive? Through contacts, it was established that she was a close friend of Bill Clinton.
Last year, Prince Andrew gave an extraordinary interview on the Epstein scandal
If that were true, then surely she would attend the prestigious 2009 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting at New York hotel? This hunch was correct. Investigators were hired to get into the event and serve her with a subpoena for her deposition, which they duly did.
To say she was upset about this being done at such a public event is an understatement, and over the following years she employed a range of tactics to get out of speaking to the lawyers. The first time this happened was in July 2010, when a date for her deposition had finally been agreed.
As Edwards was preparing to board a plane to New York to take her evidence, he received a call from her lawyer explaining that Maxwell’s mother was very ill in Europe, so she was leaving the country, with no plans ever to return to the United States. Edwards’s expenses were to be paid in full.
Eptein’s photo provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry after he was arrested for sex trafficking. Prosecutors and the FBI have contacted Prince Andrew for an interview
Shortly afterwards, Edwards was in his kitchen and saw a copy of the August 2010 issue of People magazine. Inside was a large spread featuring Bill Clinton walking his daughter Chelsea down the aisle at her wedding on July 31.
Who else was in the photographs, at the centre of it all?
She hadn’t left the US for ever. Perhaps she hadn’t left at all. Clinton had been on Epstein’s private plane many times and Epstein had subsequently been arrested for sexual contact with minors and gone to jail.
Yet still his former lover and closest adviser was invited to Clinton’s daughter’s wedding? How odd. THAT was just the start of the cat-and-mouse game with Ghislaine Maxwell.
Over the subsequent years, Edwards spent inordinate amounts of time trying to build a convincing and provable case against her, as well as against Epstein himself. Gradually, bit by bit, witness by witness, a story emerged.
In 2016, Edwards tracked down Maria Farmer, who he had been told had been abused by both Maxwell and Epstein. Maria explained how Epstein had been intrigued when he discovered that she had a younger sister, Annie, then in her early teens, and insisted on seeing pictures of her.
Virginia Roberts gave an interview to BBC Panorama about her alleged sex sessions with Prince Andrew which were allegedly orchestrated by Ghislaine Maxwell
He asked about her sister’s future plans. Maria said Annie wanted to go to an Ivy League college but didn’t have the money. Epstein told Maria he could make that happen, but first Annie had to go to New York so that he could meet her and vouch for her qualifications. Annie was just 15.
In New York, Epstein was his charming self, explaining again that he was willing to make all of her dreams come true. After Annie returned home, her mother was contacted by Maxwell and told that all students being sponsored by Epstein through college were invited to his ranch in New Mexico to discuss their future courses.
But when Annie, by then 16, arrived at the 7,500-acre compound, she was surprised to find she was the only student there. Before she could question why, Maxwell and Epstein took her shopping and bought her a pair of cowboy boots she had admired.
Later, back at Epstein’s home, Maxwell told Annie to model them for Epstein. He told her they looked really good and that she deserved a massage. Maxwell massaged Annie herself, at one point pulling the covers off the teenager and exposing her breasts before beginning to massage them.
When the massage was over, Annie stood up and realised that Epstein had been watching them the entire time. Annie went to sleep in her own bed and woke up to find Epstein lying next to her under the covers, cuddling her.
Before she left later that day, Epstein and Maxwell, who she described as ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, told her that they couldn’t wait to see her again. Maria described how there was nothing that Epstein did without Maxwell knowing about it; in fact, she personally facilitated almost every aspect of his life.
It was a horrific story, but it was just one of many. One weekend in 2016, Edwards’s office got a call from a woman aged nearly 40, whom we will call Fantasia. She described how in 1994, when she was 17, she had been recruited by Maxwell to provide Epstein with a massage in Europe.
She had also been flown to his private island in the Caribbean and his other fancy homes, and introduced to powerful billionaires. She ended up spending time with them, sporadically, for more than a decade, and had tremendous insight into the relationship between Maxwell and Epstein.
Fantasia believed that Maxwell felt eternally indebted to Epstein for taking her in so soon after her father’s death. Fantasia explained that Maxwell’s role in life was basically to please Epstein, a job that included telling Fantasia which sex outfit to wear to make him happy.
A schoolgirl costume was his favourite. Once, while in London, Fantasia and Maxwell encountered a very young-looking girl who Fantasia thought looked innocent and should be left alone.
She remembered Maxwell disagreeing and telling her that someone had to perform a sex act on Epstein, and if this new girl didn’t do it, then Maxwell herself would have to, and clearly she did not want to.
Fantasia explained that when underage girls were around, Epstein’s desire to have sex with them was so overwhelming that he would physically shake. He couldn’t survive without a constant supply of new girls.
She even went so far as to say she had seen enough of his ‘evil’ side that she believed he wasn’t beyond killing someone, especially if it was necessary to keep his sex addiction alive.
It had taken years, but Edwards was finally piecing together a picture of how Epstein and Maxwell’s bizarre relationship worked. The lawyer turned his attention to one of the people who had seen it all at first hand: Epstein’s former housekeeper at Palm Beach, Juan Alessi.
He told Edwards’s team that Maxwell had been deeply controlling and did things Juan did not like. When Epstein’s former girlfriend Eva was in charge, Juan said, there were no other females around the house.
But as soon as Maxwell took over the house, there were female visitors who were referred to as ‘masseuses’, but who did not look professional and appeared to him to be too young.
Juan also recalled that Maxwell loved to take nude photographs of girls, which she stored in a big album on her desk. This tied in with information from other witnesses about the photos of naked girls that covered the walls of Epstein’s homes in New York City, Palm Beach, New Mexico, and the Virgin Islands, many of which were, by all accounts, also taken by Maxwell.
Juan testified that after the novice ‘masseuses’ had performed their duties, he would go upstairs to clean up the massage room. While there, he found sex aids which he returned to a laundry basket filled with similar sex toys Maxwell kept in her closet.
Juan had connected more dots. The attack on Maxwell was tightening. The chessboard was looking pretty good. By the start of 2017, Edwards and his team were ready for action.
On January 26 that year, they filed a lawsuit against Epstein for his violation of the sex-trafficking statute and Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in his activities. Having done that, they turned back to a case against Maxwell brought by Virginia Roberts [the 17-yearold who says she was hired by Maxwell and was forced to sleep with Prince Andrew].
Virginia was claiming defamation against Maxwell for calling her a liar over her sex abuse claims. The case was heating up for a trial set to begin in May 2017. Witnesses were lined up, exhibits were ready, and the lawyers had a large war room set up at the hotel across the street from the court.
There was one last deposition to take: Maxwell’s.
Because she had refused to answer certain questions during previous depositions she had finally and reluctantly given, this deposition was set to take place in the courtroom with a judge. It was set for the week before the trial.
To this day, Edwards says it pains him to think about what happened next. Just days away from the hearing, he got a surprising late-night call. The case had been settled.
Once again, she had eluded them. Just like 12 years earlier, at the start of the investigation into Epstein’s activities, Maxwell had become a ghost. She simply disappeared. And now she seems to have done the same again.
Today, more than six months after Epstein’s death, there is no sign of an arrest, or of any charges being brought. Like so many questions relating to Jeffrey Epstein, the answers Ghislaine Maxwell can undoubtedly provide may be many years away – if indeed they are ever given at all.
© Bradley J. Edwards, 2020 lBy The Mail on Sunday, based on Relentless Pursuit: My Fight For The Victims Of Jeffrey Epstein, by Bradley J. Edwards, published by S&S on March 31, priced £20. Offer price £16 (20 per cent discount) until April 30. To preorder, go to mailshop.co.uk or call 01603 648155. Free delivery on all orders – no minimum spend.
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