Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is dead and gone, but his presence looms over the new abuse case against his longtime friend and former girlfriend. The case in point: Federal officials are making defendant Ghislaine Maxwell wear paper clothes, and took away her personal clothes and sheets because they are afraid she might die by suicide, said an official cited by The Associated Press.
The source said they couldn’t talk about the ongoing probe in public, and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Epstein, as you may remember, officially died by suicide in Aug. 2019 while in a Manhattan federal jail ahead of trial on sex trafficking charges. Epstein reportedly hanged himself from a prison bedsheet. The defendant was a 66-year-old charged in the prolific abuse of girls, but there was plenty of fuel for conspiracy theories that this was murder: Epstein’s injuries were more consistent with homicide than suicide; and prison guards allegedly failed to keep a close eye on him despite a recent reported suicide attempt. On top of that, the disgraced financier collected powerful friends and acquaintances in his life, including two U.S. presidents. The overarching theory was that Epstein was killed to keep his mouth shut and prevent him from implicating the rich and powerful in his alleged long-running trafficking scheme.
Maxwell was as close to Epstein as anyone, and has long been accused of participating in the abuse. In the new federal case, prosecutors are focusing on incidents between 1994 and 1997. Victims were as young as 14. Maxwell allegedly lured them to Epstein’s home, and helped groom them for abuse.
“Having developed a rapport with a victim MAXWELL would try to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts between the minor victim of Epstein,” the indictment said.
Maxwell has previously denied allegations as “absolute rubbish.”
Matt Naham contributed to this report.
[Image via Department of Justice]
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