22:04 GMT15 May 2021
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    The daughter of British billionaire Robert Maxwell has been detained in the Metropolitan Detention Centre since her arrest by the FBI. She faces eight charges, including sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of minors.

    Ghislaine Maxwell's family has launched a website in support of her. It went live on 9 April and according to its description aims to provide real facts about Ghislaine, who is accused by several women of grooming young girls and women for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is himself accused of rape and sexual assault.

    The family encourages people to "get to know the real Ghislaine", claiming that she is innocent. In a video posted on the website, her brother Ian Maxwell said the trial is based on allegations that date back 25 years ago and that even her lawyers don't know the names of her accusers, which Ian alleges makes it impossible for Ghislaine and her legal team to prove she is innocent.

    "My sister is no monster. Ghislaine is a stepmother, a wife, a friend to many, a sister to me. We believe in her innocence and that she will be exonerated in the end", he said.

    Ian reiterated complaints about the prison conditions Ghislaine is being kept in, calling them "torture".

    "How can you prepare for a trial … when you're locked in a six by nine cell for twelve hours a day, without proper sleep for over nine months now? A light shone in your eyes every fifteen minutes during the night, when guards shove their fingers in your mouth in the midst of a pandemic. And all the while you protest your innocence and are entitled to the presumption of innocence. It's cruel and unusual. It's torture. It's wrong", Ian Maxwell said.

    Besides the website, Ghislaine's family also launched a Twitter account, where they protest her innocence and provide details about her trial. The development comes as her legal team is attempting to appeal the judge's decision to deny Maxwell bail. The latter has been refused bail three times.

    Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

    The ninth and youngest child of publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, she has been part of the highest circles in Britain and the United States. In the 1990s she met US financier Jeffrey Epstein and the two dated. Even after their relationship ended, Maxwell is said to have maintained close contact with Epstein. The latter has been accused of rape and sexual assault by dozens of women. In 2008, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for procuring a minor for prostitution.

    Several more lawsuits were filed against him, but they were either dropped or settled. Ghislaine was reportedly mentioned in these lawsuits as a person who groomed young girls and women for Epstein, promising them a well-paid job in the house of the billionaire.
    In July 2019, Epstein was arrested on charges of running a sex trafficking network of minors. He was found dead in his jail cell a month later.

    His death was ruled a suicide, although many people claim he was murdered by his powerful friends who were afraid of being implicated in the scandal.

    After his death, attention shifted to Ghislaine Maxwell, who had kept a low-profile since his arrest. On 4 July 2020, she was arrested by the FBI in connection with the Epstein case. She faces eight charges, including sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of minors as well as enticing minors – one as young as 14 – to engage in illegal sex acts. She claims she is innocent, while her lawyers insist the prosecution has made her a scapegoat for Epstein's alleged crimes.

    Tags:
    grooming, sex trafficking ring, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell
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