Yesterday (29 June) marked the day that Ghislaine Maxwell was finally sentenced for recruiting and trafficking four teenage girls for sexual abuse by Epstein, her boyfriend at the time. Maxwell received a sentence of 20 years in a US prison, six months following her conviction last December.
Journalist and author, Nigel Cawthorne’s upcoming release leads an investigation into the life of Maxwell from the perspective of Virginia Giuffre. Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims who recently received an undisclosed sum from Prince Andrew, Duke of York, is known as playing a major part in disclosing the allegations to the public. With all new sources, the explosive true story is at the centre of Cawthorne’s new biography, Virginia Giuffre: The Extraordinary Life of the ‘Playtoy’ who Pursued and Ended the Crimes of Millionaires Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein.
“Although Virginia Giuffre has been in the news since 2001 about 3 contentious days in 2001 involving a royal and when she first met Ghislaine Maxwell, we really know very little about who she is and where she came from. I got intrigued by her as a modern-day David vs Goliath. Like in the story, she was from an impoverished background. But her start in life was infinitely worse as I discovered that she had first been sexually abused at the age of 7. It is hugely inspiring to rise above her past and turn the tables on Maxwell and Epstein and make them pay for their cynical use of their power, wealth and terrible ability to instil fear in minors. The material is from interviews and personal memoirs.”Nigel Cawthorne
Featuring below is a piece by Cawthorne introducing Maxwell, the woman who, alongside Epstein, is at the face of Giuffre’s allegations.
Who is Guislaine Maxwell?
Ghislaine was famous for mixing with Presidents, billionaires and royalty, in particular Prince Andrew. Rich men and women loved her. ‘Naughty, funny and very worldly’, she was the go-to guest to give a party sparkle. In her youth she seemed destined to a life as heiress to a billionaire fortune until her father died in 1991 in a blaze of headlines about embezzlement on an industrial scale. Hiding out in New York on a relatively paltry income of $100,000 a year, she became billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s lover within a year. It heralded a remarkable reversal of fortune. She resumed her jet-setting life and would mysteriously amass a fortune of over $30 million, including a grand five-storey town house in New York.
Why is she in the news?
On 2 July 2020 Maxwell was arrested by the FBI in a remote location in Maine where she was hiding with a mobile phone wrapped in tinfoil to avoid detection and reading a book on the crimes of her former lover Epstein. Also present on the property was an ex-military guard. Her lawyers refused to declare her wealth or her marriage to her husband, to whom her fortune had been secretly transferred. They made 114 complaints and requests, including her release on bail to a luxury hotel. A jury found her guilty in December last year of under-age sex felonies committed with Epstein over ten years from 1994-2004, with a maximum sentence of 55 years. The prosecution followed a ‘thin to win strategy’ with a limited number of victims who claimed Maxwell deployed her glamourous demeanour to gain their confidence and molested them. Included was Maria Farmer who had first gone to the FBI and New York police in 1995 about Maxwell’s abuse of her and her 15 year old sister, only to be brushed off until 2019.
Calls have been made for Ghislaine Maxwell’s fortune to be confiscated as gains made from a criminal enterprise. There is also an outstanding accusation of Virginia Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell. She notified the Metropolitan Police that Maxwell and Epstein paid her $15,000 to fly to London and meet with Prince Andrew (an accusation that Buckingham Palace and he have consistently denied and settled in January this year with a payment of up to £12 million without admission of liability). Under Met commissioner prosecution was reviewed three times. After her departure, the Met charged Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey for crimes committed in this country that remained on file. Maxwell’s may be next.
(c) Nigel Cawthorne, author of Virginia Giuffre: The Extraordinary Life of the ‘Playtoy’ who Pursued and Ended the Crimes of Millionaires Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein (out in July).
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