ABC’s ‘20/20’ is taking a look at the life of the British former socialite who has had a spectacular fall from grace.
Ghislaine Maxwell – the confidante and ex of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein – is sitting in federal prison in New York awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. For nearly a year after her notorious lover was found dead in his NYC prison cell, the British former socialite evaded the public eye until she was finally arrested in Bedford, New Hampshire in July 2020.
During that time she has been the subject of numerous podcasts and documentaries. On June 25 ABC News’ 20/20 gets its turn by examining the life of the mysterious 59-year-old who has rubbed shoulders with politicians and royalty alike.
The investigation comes a year after the premiere of the Netflix docu-series, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, which focused on Ghislaine’s ex who also faced charges of sex trafficking minors. Many of his alleged victims accused her of being an active participant and accomplice. At least one of them has accused Maxwell of threatening them after they went to law enforcement.
Ghislaine’s lawyer has not responded to HollywoodLife’s request for comment about these allegations, but she has pled not guilty to multiple sex abuse charges, including conspiracy to sex traffic. Here’s what else you need to know about her:
1. She is a well-connected British former socialite.
Born in France and raised in the U.K., Ghislaine is the youngest of nine children. The Oxford-educated socialite has partied with royalty and world leaders including, Prince Andrew and former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as former First Lady, Melania Trump.
2. Her father died in suspicious circumstances.
Ghislaine’s dad, Robert Maxwell, once owned the New York Daily News and Britain’s Mirror Group Newspapers. He died in November 1991 after falling off his yacht, Lady Ghislaine, off the Canary Islands. His official cause of death was a heart attack and accidental drowning, although conspiracy theorists believe he either committed suicide or was murdered, according to The Guardian. After his death Robert Maxwell was accused of plundering the Mirror Group’s pension funds of around £460 million.
3. Where did Maxwell and Epstein meet?
Ghislaine reportedly met Epstein after relocating to New York in the 1990s following her father’s death. “Her family’s wealth, status and influence considerably depleted, Maxwell found something of a replacement in her relationship with Epstein,” according to The Guardian.
4. She filed a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate.
In court docs filed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, she says that she had “no involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged misconduct” and is asking for money to pay for her security costs because she allegedly “receives regular threats to her life and safety.”
5. She was rarely seen in public after Epstein’s death.
In 2019 she was photographed outside a Los Angeles In-N-Out Burger restaurant shortly after Epstein’s death in an image published by the New York Post. She was finally arrested in July 2020. In April 2021 her attorney released a photo of her sporting a black eye while awaiting trial in a Brooklyn federal prison. Ghislaine told her attorneys she didn’t know how she acquired the bruise, according to the New York Daily News.