Audrey Strauss, acting USA attorney for the Southern District of NY, announced that Ghislaine Maxwell, a former associate of Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested and charged with sex trafficking and perjury.
The FBI said Thursday that Ghislaine Maxwell was taken into custody at around 8:30 a.m. on charges related to the Epstein scandal.
Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims are calling the arrest of his confidant and accused madam, Ghislaine Maxell, "long overdue" and "a great day for justice".
Gloria Allred, who represents 16 of Epstein's accusers, said in a statement that "we do hope that finally, she will be accountable" for her alleged role.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal detention center in NY last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Epstein has been linked socially to numerous powerful figures, from President Donald Trump to former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew. The victims, described as "multiple minor girls", were as young as 14 years old when Maxwell allegedly selected and "groomed" them by luring them to Epstein's homes in Manhattan, Palm Beach and New Mexico, the US said.
Maxwell's whereabouts had been unknown since Epstein's death but his victims have repeatedly called on her to face police regarding her alleged involvement in his crimes.
The indictment said Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct.
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Maxwell allegedly attempted to befriend the girls, some who were as young as 14, by "asking the victims about their lives, their schools, and their families".
UPDATE, with indictment details, Buckingham Palace response Ghislaine Maxwell has been indicted on six counts in federal court, including Conspiracy to Entice Minors to Travel to Engage in Illegal Sex Acts, Enticement of a Minor to Travel to Engage in Illegal Sex Acts, Conspiracy to Transport Minors with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity, Transportation of a Minor with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity and two counts of perjury.
Maxwell was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Thursday morning, and she is scheduled to appear in court later in the day.
The papers allege Maxwell was aware that Epstein engaged in sex acts with the victim on multiple occasions - this includes times when the victim was under the age of 18.
"Many of those massages resulted in Epstein sexually abusing the minor victims", the indictment said.
On or around April 22, 2016, Maxwell said "I don't know what you're talking about" when asked if Epstein had a scheme to recruit young girls for "sexual massages". They would take them to the movies and treat them to shopping trips.
After developing a rapport with a victim, Maxwell would try to "normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim", prosecutors alleged. The perjury charge stems from her 2016 testimony during a case that was pending in NY.