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Justice Department unseals disturbing and lurid charges against Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell

'Helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims'

Photo by Matthew Polak/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Thursday unsealed six federal criminal charges against Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's longtime confidante and associate, following her Thursday morning arrest.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss and prosecutors in the Southern District of New York signed the indictment.

What are the details?

Maxwell is charged with two counts of conspiracy, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transporting minors for illegal sex acts, and two counts of perjury.

Prosecutors allege that Maxwell had been assisting the alleged sexual trafficking of late financier Jeffrey Epstein since 1994.

“In particular, from at least in or about 1994, up to and including at least in or about 1997, MAXWELL assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein's abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to MAXWELL and Epstein to be under the age of 18," a portion of the indictment says.

The prosecutors continued, “As a part and in furtherance of their scheme to abuse minor victims, GHISLAINE MAXWELL, the defendant, and Jeffrey Epstein enticed and caused minor victims to travel to Epstein's residences in different states, which MAXWELL knew and intended would result in their grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse."

According to the indictment, Maxwell groomed and recruited underage girls for Epstein's pleasure by building personal relationships with them. When she was able to form bonds and establish trust with her child victims, she would hand them over to Epstein for his purposes, the indictment alleges.

"Maxwell's presence during the minor victims' interactions with Epstein, including interactions where the minor victim was undressed or that involved sex acts with Epstein, helped put the victims at ease because an adult woman was present," the indictment says.

Were others involved?

Further, the indictment pointed out that she, Epstein, and "others" participated in such activity.

"[O]thers known and unknown, would and did, knowingly transport an individual who had not attained the age of 18 in interstate and foreign commerce, with the intent that the individual engage in sexual activity for which a person can be charged with a criminal offense," the indictment adds.

Prosecutors also allege that Maxwell committed perjury, stemming from a 2016 deposition in which she insisted that she had no knowledge of her longtime boyfriend's penchant for trafficking minors.

Maxwell is set to appear in federal court on Thursday in connection with the lascivious charges.

You can read the full 18-page document here.

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