Epstein’s Associate Ghislaine Maxwell Sentenced To 20 Years For Sex Crimes

This combination of pictures created on July 2, 2020 shows Ghislaine Maxwell (L) during an event on September 20, 2013 in New York City and an undated handout photo obtained on July 11, 2019 courtesy of the New York State Sex Offender Registry of Jeffrey Epstein (R). Handout, Laura Cavanaugh / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / New York State Sex Offender Registry / AFP
This combination of pictures created on July 2, 2020 shows Ghislaine Maxwell (L) during an event on September 20, 2013 in New York City and an undated handout photo obtained on July 11, 2019 courtesy of the New York State Sex Offender Registry of Jeffrey Epstein (R). Handout, Laura Cavanaugh / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / New York State Sex Offender Registry / AFP

 

Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday for helping late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse girls, capping the former socialite’s sordid fall from grace.

The Oxford-educated daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell appeared not to react as New York Judge Alison Nathan handed down the term in a packed Manhattan federal court.

The sentence was much less than prosecutors sought but still means the 60-year-old friend to royalty and former US presidents is likely to spend much of the rest of her life in jail.

Nathan called Maxwell’s crimes “heinous and predatory” as she went with the amount of time recommended by the US probation office, rejecting Maxwell’s claims that she was pursued by prosecutors only because Epstein escaped trial by killing himself in prison.

READ ALSO: 12-Man Jury Finds Maxwell Guilty Of Helping Epstein Abuse Girls

“It is important to emphasize that although Epstein was central to this criminal scheme, Ms Maxwell is not being punished in place of Epstein or as a proxy for Epstein,” said the judge.

Maxwell was convicted late last year on five of six counts, the most serious for sex trafficking minors following a month-long high-profile trial in New York.

The charges stemmed from crimes committed between 1994 and 2004.

Prosecutors successfully proved that she was “the key” to Epstein’s scheme of enticing young girls to give him massages, during which he would sexually abuse them.

Two of Epstein’s victims, identified as “Jane” and “Carolyn,” testified that they were as young as 14 when Maxwell began grooming them.

Maxwell expressed sympathy for the victims during a statement in court Tuesday, saying she was “sorry for the pain that you experienced” but blamed Epstein.

“I believe that Jeffrey Epstein was a manipulative, cunning and controlling man who lived a profoundly compartmentalized life and fooled all of those in his orbit,” she said.

Prosecutors had called for Maxwell to receive between 30 and 55 years in jail, saying she “was an adult who made her own choices.”

In a statement, Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the 20-year term “sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice.”

“Today’s sentence holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children,” he said.

Appeal

Maxwell has already been held in detention for some two years following her arrest in New Hampshire in the summer of 2020, meaning she will likely be released in her late 70s.

“Ghislaine must die in prison,” Maxwell and Epstein accuser Sarah Ransome told reporters outside court before the sentence was read out.

Maxwell’s sentencing completes a dramatic fall for the former international jetsetter who grew up in wealth and privilege as a friend to royalty.

Her circle included Britain’s Prince Andrew, former US president and real estate baron Donald Trump and the Clinton family.

In February, Prince Andrew settled a sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, who said she had been trafficked to the royal by Epstein and Maxwell.

Maxwell’s lawyers asked Nathan to show leniency and sentence their client to no more than five years.

They said she had suffered “a difficult, traumatic childhood with an overbearing, narcissistic, and demanding father.”

“It made her vulnerable to Epstein, whom she met right after her father’s death,” they wrote in submissions this month, adding that Maxwell “cannot and should not bear all the punishment for which Epstein should have been held responsible.”

Money manager Epstein hanged himself in jail in 2019 aged 66 while awaiting his own sex crimes trial in New York.

Maxwell’s lead attorney Bobbi Sternheim told reporters that she would appeal the sentence.

In April, Nathan rejected a request by Maxwell for a new trial.

She unsuccessfully argued that a juror, who had boasted of helping convince fellow panelists to convict Maxwell by recalling his own experiences as a sex abuse victim, had biased the jury.

AFP

12-Man Jury Finds Maxwell Guilty Of Helping Epstein Abuse Girls

A photo combination of British socialite, Ghislaine Maxwell and the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein. AFP

 

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty in New York on Wednesday of recruiting and grooming young girls to be sexually abused by the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell faces spending the rest of her life behind bars after the 12-person jury convicted her on five of the six counts she was facing, including the most serious charge of sex trafficking a minor.

The conviction, just days after she turned 60 on Christmas, caps a remarkable fall from grace for the Oxford-educated daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell, who grew up in wealth and privilege as a friend to royalty.

She sat passively in the Manhattan courtroom, slowly removing her mask to take sips of water after Judge Alison Nathan read out the verdicts, reached after five full days of deliberation by the jury.

Afterward, Maxwell’s attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, said her legal team was already working on an appeal and they were “confident that she will be vindicated.”

“We firmly believe in Ghislaine’s innocence. Obviously, we are very disappointed with the verdict,” Sternheim told reporters outside the courthouse.

Sex trafficking of minors carries a maximum 40-year sentence. The lesser charges have terms of five or 10 years. Maxwell was found not guilty of one count — enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.

Nathan offered her “sincere thanks” to the jury for their service, adding that they served with “diligence.”

Maxwell walked out of the courtroom into detention as she has done every day of the month-long trial. She was not handcuffed and will return to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

No date was set for her sentencing.

US Attorney Damian Williams welcomed the verdict, saying Maxwell had been found guilty of “the worst crimes imaginable — facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children.”

“The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done,” Williams said in a statement.

Bobbi Sternheim, attorney for Ghislaine Maxwell, speaks outside federal court on December 29, 2021 in New York City.  AFP

 

The charges against Maxwell stemmed from 1994 to 2004.

Two of Epstein’s alleged victims said they were as young as 14 when Maxwell allegedly began grooming them and arranging for them to give massages to Epstein that ended in sexual activity.

One, identified only as “Jane,” detailed how Maxwell recruited her at summer camp and made her feel “special.”

She said sexual encounters with Epstein became routine, with Maxwell sometimes present.

Another, going by “Carolyn,” said she was usually paid $300 after sexual encounters with Epstein, often by Maxwell herself.

A third alleged victim was Annie Farmer, now 42, who said Maxwell fondled her breasts when she was a teenager at the New Mexico ranch owned by Epstein.

 ‘Partners in crime’

Epstein, 66, killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting his own sex crimes trial. Maxwell, his lover-turned-close friend, was arrested the following year.

She pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Prosecutor Alison Moe said Maxwell was “the key” to Epstein’s scheme of enticing young girls to give him massages, during which he would sexually abuse them.

They cited bank records showing that she received $30 million from Epstein between 1999 and 2007 as evidence that her participation was motivated by money.

“They were partners in crime,” Moe said.

Maxwell’s defense team questioned the accusers’ ability to recollect quarter-century-old events and argued that Maxwell was being used as a “scapegoat” for Epstein’s crimes after he evaded justice.

Defense attorneys Laura Menninger and Jeffrey S. Pagliuca leave the Thurgood Marshall Federal Court House in lower Manhattan on December 29, 2021. AFP

 

Maxwell declined to take the stand during the trial.

Her siblings Kevin, Isabel and Christine were in the front row in court as their sister’s fate was read out.

Pursued by reporters as they left, the family declined to comment, with Kevin Maxwell saying they would issue a statement on the verdict later.

Virginia Giuffre, who alleges Epstein lent her out for sex with his wealthy and powerful associates, including Britain’s Prince Andrew — after Maxwell introduced the royal to the financier — welcomed the verdict in a statement on Twitter.

“My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that. I will remember this day always,” said Giuffre, who was not an accuser in the case.

“I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be,” she said.

Prince Andrew denies the accusation.

Maxwell still faces two counts of perjury related to testimony she gave in 2016 in a defamation case filed by Giuffre.

AFP

Barclays CEO Staley Quits Over Epstein Relationship

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 11, 2018, British bank Barclays chief executive Jes Staley arrives at Downing Street for a meeting in London. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP)

 

British bank Barclays on Monday said chief executive Jes Staley had quit ahead of contesting the outcome of a UK probe into historical links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Barclays, which had supported Staley during the investigation, added in a statement that the preliminary conclusion “makes no findings that Mr Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Mr Epstein’s alleged crimes”.

The bank added that Staley has been replaced with immediate effect by its head of global markets, C.S. Venkatakrishnan.

The statement added that Barclays and Staley were made aware late Friday of preliminary conclusions from the investigation carried out by Britain’s financial watchdog.

“In view of those conclusions, and Mr Staley’s intention to contest them, the board and Mr Staley have agreed that he will step down from his role as group chief executive and as a director of Barclays,” the bank said.

“It should be noted that the investigation makes no findings that Mr Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Mr Epstein’s alleged crimes, which was the central question underpinning Barclays’ support for Mr Staley following the arrest of Mr Epstein in the summer of 2019,” it added.

Staley has previously said his last contact with Epstein was in 2015.

This was ahead of Staley becoming Barclays CEO in December of that year and seven years after Epstein had been convicted for sex offences.

“For sure, with hindsight with what we know now, I deeply regret having any relationship with Jeffrey,” Staley said last year, having embarked on a “professional relationship” with Epstein in 2000.

This was when Staley became head of JPMorgan’s private bank, of which Epstein was a client.

A wealthy financier, Epstein was found dead in a US prison last August while awaiting trial on allegations that he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.

Prince Andrew Sued Over Alleged Sex Abuse

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 03, 2019 Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York arrives for the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. – Britain’s Prince Andrew was sued in a New York court on August 9, 2021 for alleged sexual abuse of a woman who says she was “lent out” for underage sex by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

 

 

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, Prince Andrew, was sued in a New York court on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of a woman who says she was “lent out” for underage sex by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The filing at the US district court in Manhattan said Virginia Giuffre was the plaintiff in the case against the defendant, named as “Prince Andrew, Duke of York.”

Giuffre alleged in the filing that she “was regularly abused by Epstein and was lent out by Epstein to other powerful men for sexual purposes.

“One such powerful man… was the Defendant, Prince Andrew.”

According to the complaint, Giuffre said Andrew sexually abused her at the London home of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell more than 20 years ago, when she was under 18.

“Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew forced (the) Plaintiff, a child, to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will,” it said.

Andrew, 61, has vehemently denied claims he had sex with Giuffre, and said he has no recollection of meeting her, but the allegations threaten to damage the British royal family.

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the lawsuit and a public relations company representing Andrew e-mailed a “no comment” response to AFP on Tuesday.

The allegations have dogged the British monarchy for years.

The centuries-old institution was also rocked in March by a US television interview in March involving the 95-year-old Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan.

The couple, who moved to California last year, raised allegations of racism and bullying in Britain’s most famous family, prompting denials from the palace and promises of an inquiry.

– Dropped from royal duties –
Andrew, a divorced father of two and former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who flew in the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina, was forced to step back from frontline royal duties in late 2019.

That followed a furore at a rare television interview he gave to the BBC, in which he defended his friendship with Epstein, a multi-million-dollar hedge fund manager.

Andrew — who as a young man was considered one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors and was dubbed “Randy Andy” in the tabloid press — later issued a statement in which he said he “unequivocally” regretted his “ill-judged association” with Epstein.

But he has made few public appearances since, although joined other senior royals for the funeral of his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle in April.

Epstein, who befriended celebrities including former president Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking minors.

Giuffre, now 38, also claims Andrew abused her at Epstein’s New York mansion and on Little St. James, Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.

She is suing Andrew under the Child Victims Act as she was 17 at the time.

The court papers included a photograph alleged to show Andrew and Giuffre at Maxwell’s London home before one incident of sexual abuse.

Maxwell in April pleaded not guilty in court to charges of recruiting underage girls for Epstein.

She allegedly befriended girls with shopping and movie theater outings, and later coaxed them into giving Epstein nude massages during which he would engage in sex acts.

Giuffre, who has previously made her claims in television interviews, is suing Andrew for “exemplary, and punitive damages.”

“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions,” she said in a media statement.

“I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first. I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates.”

France Charges Epstein Ex-Associate Jean-Luc Brunel For Sex Crimes

A file photo of a court gavel.
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

French prosecutors said Saturday they had charged and imprisoned a former close associate of disgraced American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, the prominent French modelling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, over alleged sex crimes.

Brunel was charged with rape of minors over the age of 15 and sexual harassment said a statement from the prosecutors’ office. He was initially detained on Wednesday at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport as he was about to board a flight to Senegal.

Epstein, who was arrested in New York in July 2019 on charges of trafficking underage girls for sex, was found hanged in his New York jail cell the following month while awaiting trial over abuses involving girls at his Palm Beach home and on his private island in the Caribbean.

His ownership of an apartment in an upmarket Paris district and allegations from women who say they were abused in France prompted French prosecutors to open their own investigation.

That probe has focused on Brunel, who has been accused in American court documents of rape and of procuring young girls for his friend.

“This is what the victims have been waiting for for many years, some of them for more than 30 years,” said Anne-Claire Lejeune, a lawyer for several of the women.

The prosecutor’s decision to charge him “gives meaning to what they have been saying for all these years,” she added.

Now in his 70s, Brunel began his career as a model scout who in 1978 was involved in setting up the prestigious Karin Models agency.

He then moved to the United States where he co-founded the Miami-based agency MC2.

– Previous allegations –

Brunel’s lawyer in October 2019 said he vehemently rejected allegations made in the press, but denied his client was on the run, insisting he was available for questioning.

French police last year raided the offices of Karin Models and searched Epstein’s luxury Paris home not far from the Arc de Triomphe.

In US court documents, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a key plaintiff against Epstein, accused the American tycoon of using her as a “sex slave” and said she had been forced to have sex with well-known politicians and businessmen, including Brunel.

She also alleged that Brunel would bring girls as young as 12 to the United States and pass them on to his friends, including Epstein.

These claims prompted a rare statement by Brunel in 2015 that itself broke years of silence in which he vehemently denied involvement, “directly or indirectly”, in Epstein’s crimes.

Long before the Epstein scandal broke, Brunel was accused of rape by several models in a 1988 documentary by CBS.

On Thursday, Thysia Huisman, a former Dutch model who says she was drugged and raped by Brunel at the age of 18, had welcomed news of his initial arrest as “great news”.

Huisman said she was the first plaintiff to report Brunel to the authorities in 2019, and 11 other victims then came forwards. But these accusations risked never making it to court due to the statute of limitations.

Epstein’s Ex-Girlfriend Charged With Six Counts In Sex Abuse Case

The wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, indicted on charges he trafficked underage girls for sex, committed suicide in prison, US news media reported on August 10, 2019. / AFP

 

Ghislaine Maxwell charged with six counts in Epstein sex abuse case

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was charged Thursday with six counts relating to the sexual abuse and trafficking of minors in the case of late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

 

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at a New York function in 2005
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at a New York function in 2005

 

An indictment filed in a New York court showed that the charges include conspiracy to entice minors to travel in order to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of minors for criminal sexual activity and perjury.

Maxwell, whose whereabouts had been unknown following Epstein’s suicide while awaiting trial last summer, was arrested by FBI officers in New Hampshire on Thursday morning.

Epstein hanged himself in a New York cell in August last year while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors for sex and US prosecutors are investigating whether he had any accomplices.

 

 

-AFP

Epstein: Prince Andrew Yet To Grant FBI’s Request For Interview – US Prosecutor

FILES) Britain’s Prince Andrew has said on August 18, 2019 he was “appalled” by allegations of sexual abuse surrounding Jeffrey Epstein after a video was released purporting to show him at the home of the convicted paedophile in 2010.  LEON NEAL / AFP

 

Prince Andrew has provided “zero cooperation” regarding late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and has yet to respond to an FBI request for an interview, a US prosecutor said Monday.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein and said in November he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required.”

But New York attorney Geoffrey Berman, who is leading an investigation into possible co-conspirators of Epstein’s, said his office and the FBI had not heard from Andrew despite his offer to cooperate.

“To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,” Berman told reporters during a news conference outside Epstein’s former New York home where Andrew has admitted staying at in the past.

Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to request for comment when contacted by AFP.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, was forced to step back from royal duties after he faced outrage over an interview with the BBC late last year in which he defended his friendship with disgraced US financier Epstein.

Epstein, 66 committed suicide in a New York jail last summer while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

He was a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager who befriended countless celebrities over the years, including US President Donald Trump.

Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and another of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

He denied the charges but was facing up to 45 years in jail if found guilty. His death also deprived countless alleged victims of justice.

Dozens of women who say they were abused by Epstein have sued his estate and prosecutors have pledged to pursue any accomplices.

“Jeffrey Epstein couldn’t have done what he did without the assistance of others and I can assure you that our investigation is moving forward,” Berman said Monday.

Epstein’s death fueled several conspiracy theories, mostly speculating that he was murdered to stop him revealing compromising information about some of his wealthy acquaintances.

Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then state prosecutor.

Prince Andrew Urged To Cooperate With US Over Epstein

In this file photo taken on November 03, 2019, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves after speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

 

Prince Andrew was urged Thursday to speak to lawyers representing victims of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, after the royal announced he was quitting public life because of the scandal.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, has faced days of outrage since a television interview in which he defended his friendship with the disgraced US financier.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein, who was found dead in a New York prison in August while awaiting charges of trafficking minors.

As a growing number of organisations distanced themselves from the royal and his pet projects, he said he was cancelling public engagements because of the backlash.

He said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

US lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents five women allegedly assaulted by Epstein, told the BBC the royal should speak to everyone probing the allegations — including her.

“All of the staff who work for Prince Andrew should come and give information and evidence and the documents should be turned over — emails, texts, calendars, phone logs, travel logs — so we can get to the bottom of this,” she said.

She did not rule out approaching the prince directly to secure a sworn statement.

Later, lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents alleged victims and is Bloom’s mother, urged Andrew to speak to investigators “without delay.”

“The best way for him to begin to repair his damaged reputation would be to sit for an interview as soon as possible,” she told reporters in New York.

‘Much Worse To Come’?

Andrew’s announcement, which he said was approved by his mother and in which he belatedly expressed sympathy for Epstein’s victims, dominated British media for a fifth day.

Several newspapers said the former Royal Navy officer’s reputation was in tatters and speculated about whether he could ever return to formal royal duties.

Tabloid daily The Sun called the statement “a desperate attempt to fix the appalling failures of his TV interview over the Epstein scandal”.

“But if Andrew thinks this will draw a line under it all, he is delusional. His woes, we fear are just beginning,” it added in an editorial.

The Daily Mail said the claims, which have long cast a shadow over his duties, including as a special government trade representative, could do “serious damage” to the royal family.

“As it unravels, there may be much worse to come,” it added.

Andrew’s decision to step down was taken after “crisis talks” between the monarch herself and her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, several newspapers reported.

But as well as potentially having to be quizzed by US investigators, some cast doubt on some of Andrew’s claims.

They include that he had stayed at the residence of Britain’s consul-general to New York on one of the three occasions when he had allegedly had sex with his accuser.

Another is whether he actually met Epstein several years earlier than he claimed.

Torrid Year

The Epstein affair shows no sign of going away, as the BBC is expected to air more revelations from one of his victims in the coming days.

The scandal tops a torrid year for the royal family marked by strained relations with the media and an apparent lack of direction in terms of control of its public image.

In October, Andrew’s nephew Prince Harry was criticised for giving an interview in which he complained about media coverage of his wife, Meghan.

He then announced legal action against several tabloids for breach of privacy and phone-hacking, setting up a potentially explosive court confrontation.

The queen, now 93, described 1992 as her “annus horribilis” after heir to the throne Charles and Andrew separated from their respective wives, and her only daughter, Anne, got divorced.

Her favourite Windsor Castle residence was also partially destroyed by fire.

Commentators said the latest scandal could see a repeat, and that the withdrawal of a senior royal from public life had no precedent since king Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936.

Epstein’s Injuries Point To Murder, Not Suicide, Pathologist Says

The wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, indicted on charges he trafficked underage girls for sex, committed suicide in prison, US news media reported on August 10, 2019. / AFP

 

A forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother said Wednesday that evidence suggested the disgraced financier had not died by suicide in his jail cell but had been murdered.

Michael Baden contradicted the official verdict of suicide by hanging given by officials in August, saying Epstein’s injuries were “more indicative of homicidal strangulation.”

“I think that the evidence points toward homicide rather than suicide,” Baden, a former New York City medical examiner who was present at the autopsy, told Fox News.

He said multiple fractures found in Epstein’s neck — specifically the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage — were “very unusual for suicide.”

Epstein was found dead in New York’s high-security Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10 as he awaited trial on allegations that he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.

New York’s chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson ruled that he had killed himself, a verdict that has been disputed by Epstein’s lawyers and his brother Mark.

Sampson said Wednesday she and her office stand by their ruling.

“The original medical investigation was thorough and complete. There is no reason for a second medical investigation by our office,” she said in an email to AFP in response to Baden’s assertion.

Epstein, 66, was a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager who hobnobbed with countless celebrities over the years, including Britain’s Prince Andrew and US President Donald Trump.

His death fueled several conspiracy theories, mostly speculating that he had been murdered to stop him from revealing compromising information about some of his wealthy acquaintances.

Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and another of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

He denied the charges but faced up to 45 years in jail if found guilty.

After his death dozens of women came forward to say they had been abused by him and several have sued his estate for damages.

Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then state prosecutor.

Baden was New York’s chief medical examiner in the late 1970s and is a regular guest on Fox News.

AFP

Epstein’s Paris Flat Searched In French Probe

The wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, indicted on charges he trafficked underage girls for sex, committed suicide in prison, US news media reported on August 10, 2019. / AFP

 

French investigators searched disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein’s luxury Paris apartment on Tuesday, deepening a probe into allegations that the sex offender procured young women to abuse in France.

Epstein, who was arrested in New York in July on charges of trafficking underage girls for sex, was found hanged in his New York jail cell on August 10 while awaiting trial over abuses involving girls at his Palm Beach home and on his private island in the Caribbean.

But his ownership of an apartment in the heart of upmarket Paris and allegations from women who say they were abused in France prompted French prosecutors to open their own criminal probe last month.

Epstein’s flat on Avenue Foch near the Champs-Elysees — one of the world’s most exclusive addresses — was scoured for evidence from Monday afternoon to the early morning hours of Tuesday, a source close to the probe told AFP.

A week earlier, investigators searched the nearby headquarters of Karin Models, an agency founded in 1978 by Epstein associate Jean-Luc Brunel, himself accused in American court documents of rape and of procuring young girls for his friend.

Epstein, who at one time counted Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Britain’s Prince Andrew among his friends, was accused of recruiting teenagers to administer massages which frequently led to abuse and even rape.

 ‘Sex slave’ –

Last month, the investigation officially spilled over from the US to France when the Paris prosecutor’s office opened its own inquiry into claims of rape and sex abuse, including of minors.

The investigation focuses on potential crimes committed against French victims in France as well as abroad, and on suspects who are French citizens, the Paris prosecutor said.

Three women in France have come forward, including a former Dutch model who says she was drugged and raped by Brunel at a Paris flat in the early 1990s.

In a letter to the chief Paris prosecutor seen by AFP, the former Dutch model, now 46, says she was drugged and raped by Brunel at a Paris flat — situated on the prestigious Avenue Hoche — when she was just above the age of consent.

In the US, Virginia Giuffre filed a suit accusing Epstein of using her as a “sex slave”, in which she also said she had been forced to sleep with well-known politicians and businessmen, including Brunel.

Giuffre alleged Brunel, who specialised in scouting models and was a hugely influential figure in the industry, would bring girls as young as 12 to the United States and pass them on to his friends, including Epstein.

Brunel in 2015 issued a rare statement in which he vehemently denied involvement, “directly or indirectly” in any crimes by Epstein, with whom he fell out in later years.

Long before the Epstein scandal broke, Brunel was accused of rape by several models in a 1988 CBS documentary.

Brunel, now in his 70s, has made no public comment on the latest allegations. He was spotted at a high-society function at the beginning of July but has not been seen since.

He began his career as a model scout who in 1978 was involved in setting up the prestigious Karin Models agency. He then moved to the United States where he co-founded the Miami-based agency MC2.

Epstein pled guilty in 2008 to procuring for prostitution a girl under the age of 18, and served 13 months in prison before being released on probation.

AFP

Jeffrey Epstein’s Associate Accused Of Rape

The wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, indicted on charges he trafficked underage girls for sex, committed suicide in prison, US news media reported on August 10, 2019. / AFP

 

A former model has accused a modelling agent close to US sex crimes suspect Jeffrey Epstein of raping her in 1990, as France pursues its own investigation into alleged offences on its territory.

In a letter sent to Paris Prosecutor Remi Heitz seen by AFP on Saturday, a 46-year-old Dutch woman says Jean-Luc Brunel drugged and raped her at his Paris appartment in the early 1990s, shortly after she turned 18.

French prosecutors opened an inquiry last month into suspected sex trafficking and alleged cases of rape and sexual abuse of women, including minors.

Brunel has emerged as a key figure in the scandal surrounding the US billionaire, who committed suicide in a New York jail last month.

Brunel has been accused in court documents of rape and of procuring young girls for Epstein, charges he has denied in the past.

But since Epstein’s arrest in July — just as he returned from a trip to Paris — Brunel, formerly a high-power model scout, has not been heard from publicly.

In her letter, the former Dutch model said several girls lived in Brunel’s apartment near the Champs-Elysees, where every day “rich businessmen were accompanied by very young girls.”

“The events are beyond the statute of limitations, and my client knows this will not lead to charges against Mr Brunel,” the woman’s lawyer, Anne-Claire Le Jeune, told AFP.

“But she wanted to testify anyway, to help the inquiry move forward,” she said.

It is also investigating claims that Epstein and others participated for years in a vast child sex-trafficking ring.

A French advocacy group for child sex abuse victims, Innocence En Danger (Innocence at Risk), has said 10 people had offered witness statements alleging sex crimes committed against minors in France.

According to the Parisian newspaper, Paris police last week questioned two other women who said they had been sexually assaulted by Brunel. These alleged offences happened too long ago for prosecution.

Four years ago, Brunel was accused in a civil lawsuit of rape and procuring young girls for the US financier.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who filed the suit, accused Epstein of using her as a “sex slave”. She said she had been forced to have sex with well-known politicians and businessmen, including Brunel.

She also alleged that Brunel would bring girls as young as 12 to the United States and pass them on to his friends, including Epstein. Brunel fiercely denied the allegations.

AFP

Britain’s Prince Andrew Under Fire Over Relationship With Epstein

Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, leaves following the Royal family Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, in the east of England, on December 25, 2012. LEON NEAL / AFP

 

Britain’s Prince Andrew insisted on Saturday that “at no stage” during his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein did he “witness… any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest”.

The prince, Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, is under heavy fire over his relationship with the disgraced US financier, and admitted in a statement on Saturday that “it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010”.

“At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.”

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Epstein was found dead in his cell earlier this month, and the prince was once more drawn into the story after a video was released purporting to show him at the criminal’s home in 2010.

Epstein had pleaded guilty in 2008 to procuring for prostitution a girl under the age of 18 and served 13 months in prison before being released on probation.

“I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know,” said Andrew.

“This is a difficult time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr Epstein’s lifestyle,” he added.

The video was the latest in a string of revelations about Prince Andrew’s friendship with Epstein in British tabloids.

The Mail on Monday said the prince had hosted Epstein at Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth II’s home in Scotland, in 1999 at a time when the monarch may have been in residence.

He also reportedly hosted Epstein at Sandringham, another royal residence in eastern England, a year later.

Epstein died in a federal jail in Manhattan on August 10 as he awaited trial charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

A coroner ruled that he committed suicide by hanging.

Over the years, the financier hobnobbed with politicians, socialites and celebrities, including Donald Trump before he was president, and Bill Clinton.

Virginia Giuffre — previously Virginia Roberts — one of Epstein’s alleged victims, has testified that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew in London when she was 17. She said she had sex with him again in New York and on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean.

But the allegations were struck from the record by a US judge in 2015, who said the “lurid details” were not needed to decide a civil case concerning Epstein.

Buckingham Palace has repeatedly and strenuously denied the claims, calling them “false and without foundation”.

The prince said he deplored “the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.”

AFP