OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, is back in hot water.
U.S. prosecutors on Monday expanded their criminal case against Ghislaine Maxwell, saying the British socialite helped procure a fourth underage girl for Epstein to sexually abuse.
According to the superseding indictment, from between 1994 to “at least in or about” 2004, 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…”
The indictment confirms that some of the victims were as young as 14.
Maxwell faces new charges of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor in the eight-count indictment, as well as earlier charges that include perjury.
She had previously pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom three teenage girls for sex between 1994 and 1997 in New York.
Maxwell has been held in a jail in Brooklyn since her arrest last July.
The indictment also alleges that both Maxwell and Epstein knew some of the accusers were minors.
Beyond this, Maxwell allegedly “repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct”, including during testimony from 2016.
The new indictment confirms the existence of a fourth victim – “Victim-4” in court documents – who was allegedly abused between 2001 and 2004, and also adds a new charge, a “sex trafficking conspiracy” and alleges that Victim-4 was a victim of this conspiracy.
The indictment also alleges that other unnamed “conspirators” sent the minor lingerie and gifts.
Epstein and Maxwell encouraged the minor to “recruit other young females to provide sexualized massages to Epstein.”
These efforts were ultimately successful, and they found more victims.
Importantly, these charges apply to conduct that occurred at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion.
Ghislaine and her legal team have argued that she is still protected by Epstein’s sweetheart deal with prosecutors from more than a decade ago and that she is, therefore, immune to these charges.
In late January and early February, Maxwell filed 12 motions seeking to dismiss all or part of the government case, or at least make it more difficult to win a conviction.
Maxwell has said the government targeted her only because Epstein killed himself and prosecutors wanted someone else to blame, and that she was covered by Epstein’s own non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in Florida.
She has also said the perjury charges, based on depositions from 2016 in a civil lawsuit, should be tossed because her answers were true, and the grand jury in suburban White Plains, New York, that indicted her had too few nonwhite jurors.
Last week, another federal judge in Manhattan refused to dismiss espionage charges against a former CIA employee indicted in White Plains early in the COVID-19 pandemic, rejecting the defendant’s argument that the jury was not diverse enough.
That ruling may foreshadow the outcome of Maxwell’s dismissal request.
On March 22, Judge Nathan rejected Maxwell’s third request for bail, saying Maxwell remained a significant flight risk.