FBI kept tabs on Ghislaine Maxwell as she 'slithered away' — and then 'moved when we were ready'

Ghislaine Maxwell.
(Image credit: Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

The FBI has explained why it took a year after the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein to take his associate Ghislaine Maxwell into custody.

Maxwell was arrested Thursday morning in conjunction with the Southern District of New York's investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide last year while awaiting trial on allegations of sex trafficking. She faces five charges, including transporting and enticing minors for illegal sexual acts, as well as committing perjury while testifying in the Epstein case.

The FBI had been "secretly keeping tabs" on Maxwell for the past year, most recently finding she had "slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims continue to live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago," Bill Sweeney, the assistant director of the FBI’s New York Field Office, said in a Thursday press conference. A grand jury had recently voted to indict her, and the FBI "moved when we were ready," Sweeney said.

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The indictment details how Maxwell had a "personal and professional relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and was among his closest associates." And from 1994 on, Maxwell allegedly "enticed and groomed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts" with Epstein, the indictment reads, going on to detail how Maxwell built trust with these victims knowing they would be abused. Find the whole disturbing indictment here.

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Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.