Ghislaine Maxwell: Inside New Peacock Docuseries on Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein’s story is now well known. When the accused sex trafficker died – officially declared suicide by hanging in his prison cell almost two years ago – the public was baffled alongside the victims who were denied justice. There seemed to be more to the story than the satisfaction of a man’s carnal needs. What about the mystery of his money, the videotapes, rumors of spies and blackmail, and names in bold deleted from court records?
Then a key keeper of those secrets was arrested in New Hampshire last summer. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has roamed Manhattan for decades, but the general public first ‘got to know’ her in August 2019 when a New York judge released some 2,000 pages of previously sealed pages from a trial. in defamation against her.
It was immediately clear why Maxwell had wanted the documents sealed. The grim allegations in these pages exposed the true scale of sex trafficking and the power, access and money that allowed legal impunity behind Epstein’s first prison sentence. I think their release just 24 hours before he was found hanged in his federal prison cell almost certainly had something to do with his death.
As the shock of Epstein’s death set in again, I wrote a story for Rolling stone outlining the allegations in unpublished depositions. Dozens of people have made similar claims about Maxwell’s role in an industrial-scale grooming and canvassing operation – crossing South Florida strip clubs, spas and even a Christian college. The documents included statements not only from teenage girls (now women), but from eyewitnesses, including private pilots, butlers, house managers and drivers.
Now these documents, supplemented by other legal documents and interviews with legal experts, intelligence agents and company figures, some of whom have never spoken before, form the basis of a new three-part documentary. parts that illuminate the life and story of Ghislaine Maxwell, the mysterious woman Epstein “left behind holding the bag” of his secrets, as a former CIA agent put it Rolling stone. Over the past year I have worked as an executive producer on this documentary series, Shadow of Epstein: Ghislaine Maxwell, which will begin airing Thursday on Peacock.
Her story begins in Britain, where she grew up rich and connected, the last and most favorite child of legendary media figure and, it turned out, of suspected international criminal and financial spy, Robert Maxwell. Sources tell us this is where she first met Epstein.
Jeffrey Epstein’s connection to Robert Maxwell dates back to London in the 1980s, when Epstein, who had just been narrowly avoided in a massive Wall Street fraud case, traveled to London and allegedly worked with a financier. Briton named Douglas Leese. Leese taught the tough Coney Island-raised American the manners of the British aristocracy, including how to dress for a weekend hunt. During these years, Epstein first teamed up with Robert Maxwell, who introduced him to Ghislaine, who fell in love with him. “What Ghislaine saw in Epstein was the image of her father,” said Epstein’s former business partner Steven Hoffenberg, who called them “soul mates.”
The parallels between Ghislaine’s father, Robert Maxwell, and Epstein are troubling. Both men were born in humble circumstances – Maxwell from a large Czech peasant family and Epstein from a gardener from the Coney Island parks – and both grew up to be experts in the dark world of relocation of the silver. (Maxwell helped hide money stolen by a Bulgarian dictator, as well as lose track of $ 450 million in pension funds for his own media empire employees.) Both men died in mysterious circumstances that have been officially considered suicide. Maxwell’s body was found in the waters off the Canary Islands, where he was yachting, a death his daughter has publicly stated to believe was murder.
The second and third parts of the story we wanted to tell take place mainly on American soil, and mainly in New York and Florida. We sought to answer questions about how and why a woman connected to the highest echelons of finance and society ended up in a Brooklyn jail cell and accused in public documents of being the lead prosecutor of ‘a stock of pubescent girls, some of whom said they were not only forced to have sex with Epstein, but with powerful men in rooms wired with cameras.
The task seemed easy at first. A prominent socialite, Ghislaine had been photographed smiling next to a veritable register of gossip columnists of daring names. For decades she had swan and slipped to the top of high society, teaming up with male billionaires and their wives.
We called hundreds of them. For the most part, we have had “no comments”, or more often, no response at all. A prominent New Yorker picked up the phone and when I explained what I wanted to discuss I hastily said her doctor was on the other line and urgently needed to discuss something. She never called back.
Others who vaporized were a wealthy heiress who had appointed Maxwell as her children’s godmother and had given her shelter during her year in hiding. Now they were in hiding.
Maxwell had gone from a company insider with a “naughty” sense of humor to social plutonium. She had been in hiding herself, with the exception of one photo, widely believed to have been faked, in which she appeared to wink at spy rumors while reading a book about the CIA in an In -n-Out Burger in LA.
Some people have spoken to us, on and off camera. All confirmed that Maxwell served as Epstein’s company networker. The contacts of his famous “little black book” were, we learned, at least 80% of his friends, not his. Besides this document, photos show the scope of her access: she is there with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, there she is at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, there with Bill in a private jet. There is more too. Maxwell’s name is on an org chart of the first members of an elite Manhattan billionaire club, not only as a member, but as a recruiter of other top members.
What did Epstein, a man with private jets, mansions in New York, Paris and Santa Fe and his own private island do for a living? Mystified Wall Street insiders say he appeared to have little to no investing skills. And yet, The Wexners gave him power over his fortune for years, and billionaire Leon Black paid him $ 150 million in the years following his release from Palm Beach jail.
We caught glimpses of his MO David Marchant, who investigates offshore financial havens, speculated that Epstein knew how to hide money. Another source who declined to pass on camera recalled that Epstein boasted that flying Prince Andrew around the world on his private jet was personally lucrative as the prince served as a sales representative in the UK and Epstein could follow him into meetings with third world kleptocrats who needed his money-caching skills.
Rumors and speculation about intelligence connections swirl around the saga. Robert Maxwell is generally thought to have worked formally or unofficially for the KGB and Mossad, serving as an intermediary and sometimes an actual agent for both. He allegedly played a bagman role in the Iran Contra arms deal and helped the CIA smuggle spyware into the Soviet Union. “He definitely had KGB ties,” ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame said. “He was used as a gatekeeper to the top layer of British society, the British aristocracy.”
Intelligence insiders told us that Epstein’s sex trafficking operation also looks like a “kompromat” operation (essentially an operation to collect damaging information about decision makers, in order to influence them) for some intelligence agencies. . “When this story first broke, I said to one of my former CIA colleagues, ‘How many different intelligence organizations do you think are involved in this? Because there was a written intelligence operation everywhere, ”ex-agent John Kiriakou told us. “What any intelligence officer wants to do, has to do to be promoted, to make a name for himself, is recruit spies to steal secrets. So what better secrets do you want to steal than those held by the most important people in the world? Former presidents, business titans, politicians.
A prominent New Yorker who socially associated with Epstein in New York recalled that “Jeff” had a knack for arousing the needs and wants of people so effectively and quickly after meeting them, that it was “like himself.” he had been trained ”.
Where does all this leave Ghislaine Maxwell? Was she in love with Epstein or was she working for him? And why? “It is not uncommon for the intelligence services, once they have an access agent or an informant, to ask that person to reach out to their children and bring them in,” Plame told us. . “Usually for the same reasons they got the first one.”
Ghislaine Maxwell’s mystery may never be definitively resolved, but her story exposes a dark world of borderless wealth, where traders clash with influencers, secrets are worth money, and civil laws don’t apply. always.
Nina Burleigh is an executive producer and interviewed in the three-part documentary series, Shadow of Epstein: Ghislaine Maxwell, produced by Blue Ant Studios. The original series will be available to stream on Peacock on June 24..