British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in spotlight after Epstein’s apparent suicide – NBC News

The apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, who was found unresponsive Saturday morning in his federal jail cell, is the latest stunning development in the case against the once-powerful financier on charges of sex trafficking.

His death came hours after the release of 2,000 pages of court documents, part of a related lawsuit, that revealed allegations that Epstein and a former longtime member of his inner circle, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, ordered a teenage girl to have sex with high-powered men.

The U.S. prosecutor in Manhattan, where Epstein was held pending trial, said Saturday that the investigation into the charges in the indictment against him, including one count of conspiracy, will continue.

One person who could come under a greater focus is Maxwell.

Daughter of the late publishing mogul Robert Maxwell, she was a close friend and confidant of Epstein’s after they were first romantically linked in the early 1990s, according to reports.

Her name resurfaced on Friday after the release of the cache of court papers relating to a 2015 federal defamation lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Maxwell.

Giuffre, now 36, claims in a 2016 deposition in the court filings that Epstein and Maxwell groomed her to become a “sex slave” for high-powered men starting when she was 16.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2005, in New York.Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

The suit was settled out of court in 2017. The documents released Friday represent only a portion of the case file and offer limited context in many places.

Maxwell, who has not been charged with a crime, could not be reached for comment. Her lawyer also didn’t return a request for comment upon release of the documents Friday.

Previously, in a motion to dismiss the suit, Maxwell’s lawyers said Giuffre “produced no evidence substantiating any of her fantastical claims that she had been trafficked by Epstein, or by Maxwell, to any of these men or any others.”

Giuffre said in her deposition that she first met Maxwell in the summer of 2000 while working at the spa at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Giuffre said her father was a maintenance worker at the future president’s private club.

Trump socialized with Epstein in the 1990s and early 2000s, but Giuffre testified that she had no sexual contact with Trump and wasn’t aware of him ever having relations with the other girls in Epstein’s orbit.

Giuffre was reading a massage therapy book, she said, when Maxwell approached her, looking for someone who could give massages.

“I know somebody,” Maxwell said, according to Giuffre. “We can train you. We can get you educated. You know, we can help you along the way if you pass the interview. If the guy likes you, then, you know, it will work out for you. You’ll travel. You’ll make good money.”

Giuffre said she eventually met Epstein, and massages turned into sexual acts. She alleged that he and Maxwell also introduced her to other men for sexual encounters.

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