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Ghislaine Maxwell's brother speaks on eve of her trial to claim his sister is paying 'blood price'

Ghislaine Maxwell's brother Ian has blasted the US government for making his sister pay a 'blood price' on the eve of her child sex abuse trial.

Ian Maxwell told the Associated Press his sister, 59, is being unfairly demonized because of her association with Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 before he could be brought to justice on child sex charges.

He said his sibling was 'paying a heavy price, a blood price', for the crimes of her former lover - for whom Ghislaine now stands accused of procuring underage girls.

The trial starts today in Thurgood Marshall U.S. courthouse and will run into mid-January. Ghislaine has pleaded not guilty to six counts, which include sex trafficking of a minor, and faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.   

Ian Maxwell says his sister is being railroaded by a U.S. criminal justice system intent on holding someone responsible for Epstein´s crimes.

'This is 'the most over-hyped trial of the century without a doubt,' Maxwell said.   

'This is designed to break her; I can't see any other way to read it. ... And she will not be broken because she believes completely in her innocence and she is going to give the best account she can.'

Ghislaine Maxwell's brother, Ian, says  his sister is paying 'blood price' to the US justice system because Epstein killed himself 

Ian Maxwell added: 'This is not quite a put-up job, but nonetheless has been cobbled together so that Ghislaine is made to face the charges that Epstein never faced'.

The supportive sibling has also blasted claims Ghislaine is a gold-digger. Their dad Robert died after plunging from a yacht off the Canary Islands in 1991, and was later discovered to have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from his firm's pension funds to maintain the family's extravagant lifestyle.

But Ian insists Ghislaine did not shack up with Epstein to keep her in the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed.

He said: 'My father was a powerful man - you know, an alpha male, really. And when you have that kind of experience, all of us, all of the brothers and sisters have had to somehow deal with that. Ghislaine was no exception. But clearly to then say, 'Well, you know, he dies, then she moves along to the next rich man.' I just don't buy that.'

Ghislaine has been charged with procuring girls as young as 14 for Epstein to sexually abuse. She is also accused of joining in the abuse herself, although denies all allegations against her. 

Starting today, prosecutors in New York will argue that even as she was sipping cocktails with the likes of Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Maxwell, 59, was secretly abetting Epstein's crimes with girls as young as 14.   

A key question for jurors will be whether Maxwell was an unwitting pawn of Epstein's manipulations or an opportunist who knew all about his sex crimes.  

The 12 jurors and six alternates who will decide Maxwell's fate will be officially seated at a courthouse in lower Manhattan today. 

The French-born heiress has also been charged with two counts of perjury but those counts are due to be tried after her sex crimes trial. The charges relate to testimony she gave in 2016 in a defamation case filed against her by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre. 

Maxwell was a wealthy socialite, moving in elite circles until she virtually disappeared from public view in 2016 after Virginia Roberts - Epstein's main accuser - filed a lawsuit against her (pictured, Epstein and Maxwell in New York in 2015)

Ian Maxwell says his sister's prosecution is 'the most over-hyped trial of the century,' designed to break a woman targeted by authorities desperate to blame someone for Epstein's crimes

Maxwell faces six-week federal trial in New York for alleged trafficking. Pictured: Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City

He says his sister is in 'effective isolation' at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she is being held in a 6-by 9-foot cell that has no natural light and is equipped with a toilet and a concrete bed. 

She is unable to sleep because she is watched around the clock by four guards and 10 cameras due to unwarranted concerns that she is a suicide risk, he said.

Earlier this month, a judge again refused to let Epstein's former girlfriend trade her jail cell for home detention, citing the serious nature of the charges and her risk of flight.

'The denial of bail is wholly inappropriate,' Ian Maxwell said. 

'Some very famous, infamous people were granted bail as most recently the killer of George Floyd, a murderer. John Gotti, another murderer, a mobster. Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Bernie Madoff. These are all men, of course, who got bail. Ghislaine is a woman who somehow doesn't get bail.

'The authorities are feeling under pressure ... because they lost (Epstein) and they're feeling under the public's pressure, and that combination of pressure is keeping Ghislaine inside,' her brother said. 'But it still doesn't make it right.'  

In a second interview ahead of the trial this morning, Ian Maxwell told LBC he was relieved his sister was being brought in front of a court after 'over 500 days in solitary isolation'. 

He said in that period 'her voice has not been heard', adding 'we're looking forward to her case whether directly in the box or through her own defense team.'    

Ian Maxwell added the family have had 'very little' contact with Ghislaine during her detention. 'Largely because of this isolation and, of course, most of it was served during the pandemic when no visitors were allowed in any prison, I think anywhere in the United States and probably also in Britain.'

He added: 'It's really been through her lawyers who see her everyday and messages have been passed backwards and forwards but none of us of actually spoken to Ghislaine since June 2019.' 

Ian said he has not seen his sister in-person since June 2019, where all the siblings (pictured) came together for a birthday celebration. Ian has stated that all the siblings support their sister and believe in her innocence 

The alleged victims are expected to testify that Ghislaine operated a ring of girls and young women who were taken across state lines to provide sex acts and sexualized massages for Epstein, for which they received hundreds of dollars.

The defense argues that Maxwell is being tried only because Epstein escaped justice. They have indicated they will attack the accusers' credibility by referencing alleged previous substance abuse.

They also intend to challenge their recollection of events by calling psychologist Elizabeth Loftus - an expert on 'false memories' - to the stand.

During the trials of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby she testified that memories become distorted over time, particularly during questioning years later.

The prosecution intends to call psychologist Lisa Rocchio to testify about common strategies used to groom children, such as developing trust before normalizing sexual contact.

The proceedings against Maxwell come after convictions of Weinstein and the singer R. Kelly, cases that also saw the defense rely - ultimately in vain - on challenges of credibility.

'The atmosphere is ripe for cases like this,' former prosecutor Julie Rendelman told AFP. But, she added, 'it's always difficult when you're dealing with accusations that occurred so many years ago.'

On the eve of her trial yesterday it emerged Ghislaine had placed job adverts for recruits to answer phones ‘during school holidays’ when she allegedly trafficked girls for Jeffrey Epstein.

The adverts were placed in newspapers in Palm Beach, Florida – where Epstein had a mansion – in January 1997. Job seekers were given a phone number to call ‘Miss Maxwell’.

The number matches the one Maxwell gave to police when she was stopped for a driving offence in the US around the same time. She was living at her former boyfriend Epstein’s ‘House of Sin’ at 358 El Brillo Way, Palm Beach.

Details of the three job adverts in the Palm Beach Post and the Palm Beach Daily News emerged on the eve of Maxwell’s trial in New York for allegedly sex trafficking children for the paedophile American financier.

The newly discovered job adverts from nearly 25 years ago do not specify the preferred gender of applicants. 

One in the Palm Beach Post on January 4, 1997, states: ‘Person needed for answering phone & light cleaning during School Holidays. Call Miss Maxwell, 655-3704.’

In 2016, an Epstein accuser called Johanna Sjoberg claimed in a deposition that Maxwell recruited her to provide massages for the tycoon in 2001 when she was at college in Palm Beach.

Maxwell, whose wardrobe has been tailored to accommodate her severe weight loss while on remand, fears being scapegoated for the crimes of her ex-boyfriend

Miss Sjoberg said she was under the impression she was being hired as a personal assistant, but she soon realized her job was to provide ‘sexual massages’ to Epstein, who she has said told her he needed to have ‘three orgasms a day’. 

Asked about her first alleged encounter with Maxwell, Miss Sjoberg said: ‘She wanted to know if there was, like, a bulletin board or something that she could post, that she was looking for someone to hire.

‘I told her where she could go to – you know, to put up a listing. And then she asked me if I knew anyone that would be interested in working for her.’

According to Miss Sjoberg’s testimony, Maxwell, 59, explained that she lived in Palm Beach and ‘didn’t want butlers because they’re too stuffy. And so she just liked to hire girls to work at the house, answer phones, get drinks, do the job a butler would do’.

She claimed that in another encounter Maxwell encouraged her to ‘finish the job’ while performing a massage on Epstein, according to court documents.

Miss Sjoberg claims she was ‘punished’ when Epstein failed to orgasm as a result of one of her massages, which Maxwell allegedly told her were necessary because ‘she [Maxwell] would not be able to please him as much as he needed and that is why there were other girls around’. 

Describing being told off by Maxwell, the then photography student said: ‘She had purchased a camera for me, and I was over there giving Jeffrey a massage. I did not know that she was in possession of the camera until later.

‘She called me after I had left and said: “I have the camera for you, but you cannot receive it yet because you came here and didn’t finish your job and I had to finish it for you”.’

When asked if that meant giving him an orgasm she said: ‘Yes. She was implying that I did not get Jeffrey off, and so she had to do it.’

Miss Sjoberg has claimed previously that Prince Andrew groped her breasts with a Spitting Image puppet of himself at Epstein’s home in New York in 2001.

The Queen’s second son sidestepped questions about the alleged incident during his notorious BBC Newsnight interview two years ago, saying he may have visited the paedophile’s property but ‘definitely didn’t, definitely, definitely no, no, no activity’.

Miss Sjoberg is not an alleged victim in Maxwell’s trial.

Giuffre (right with Prince Andrew), has been one of Epstein's most vocal accusers but she will not be testifying at the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. She has long claimed that she was a victim of Epstein's sex trafficking ring throughout the early 2000s when she was a teenager (Ghislaine can be seen, pictured right)

Ghislaine Maxwell grew up at Headington Hill Hall, a 51-room English country mansion where politicians, business leaders and newspaper editors attended lavish parties punctuated by trumpeters and fireworks. BBC images from the time show Ghislaine as a child with a kid-size plate of food, circling in a party dress, learning how to be a master networker.

Her father, born Jan Ludvik Hoch, was one of nine children of Yiddish-speaking parents in a village in what is now southwestern Ukraine. Escaping the Holocaust, he ultimately joined the British Army, rising to the rank of captain and transforming himself into Robert Maxwell.

After the war, Maxwell built on his military connections to buy the rights to German scientific journals, the beginnings of a publishing empire that ultimately included the Daily Mirror, one of Britain´s biggest tabloid newspapers, as well as the New York Daily News and the book publisher Macmillan.

Along the way he married, fathered nine children and was twice elected to Parliament. He also earned a reputation for boorish behavior and bullying subordinates.

Ghislaine (back center) is seen with members of her family in the  1980s. Her father Ian is pictured back row second from left 

Ghislaine was Maxwell's youngest child, born on Christmas Day 1961. Her brother Michael was severely brain damaged in a car accident just days later at age 15, although he lived for another seven years.

Her mother, Elisabeth Maxwell, wrote in her memoir that she and Robert were so focused on their injured son that their baby daughter was overlooked. So neglected was Ghislaine that at the age of 3 she stood in front of her mother and said, 'Mummy, I exist!'

'I was devastated,´ Elisabeth Maxwell wrote in A Mind of My Own: My Life with Robert Maxwell. 'And from that day on, we all made a great effort with her, fussing over her so much that she became spoiled, the only one of my children I can truly say that about.´

While studying history at the University of Oxford in the early 1980s, Ghislaine Maxwell began building contacts of her own, including Prince Andrew, who would later invite her and Epstein to Windsor Castle and Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth II´s country estate.

Ghislaine was close to her father, Robert Maxwell, prior to his untimely death in 1991. The pair are pictured together in 1990

Robert Maxwell was a prominent newspaper publisher whose body was found in the waters near his yacht, Lady Ghislaine, on November 5, 1991. Crews are seen searching for the magnate after his disappearance 

Ghislaine Maxwell's family have slammed the 'bizarre and cruel' US legal system for subjecting her to 'brutal and degrading' treatment in jail. Pictured: Ghislaine Maxwell with brother Ian (right), father Robert and mother Elizabeth (far left)

After graduating, she worked for her father in a variety of roles. In 1991, at age 29, she became his U.S. emissary after he bought the Daily News amid efforts to compete with fellow media tycoon - and New York Post owner - Rupert Murdoch.

Later that year, Robert Maxwell fell off his yacht - the Lady Ghislaine - in the Canary Islands and died in what some saw as an accident and others a suicide. Investors would discover his wealth was an illusion: He had diverted hundreds of millions of pounds from his companies´ pension funds to prop up his empire.

Soon after her father's death, Ghislaine Maxwell was photographed sitting next to Epstein during a memorial at the Plaza Hotel.

John Sweeney, a longtime U.K. journalist and creator of the podcast 'Hunting Ghislaine,' told the AP he believes that 'after the monster her father died, she found a second monster.'

'Robert Maxwell stole hundreds of millions of pounds from people who were dependent upon his good word; Jeffrey Epstein turned out to be a darker figure, a worse human being,' Sweeney said.

Ian Maxwell said his sister's relationship with Epstein developed after the family advised her to remain in the U.S. because the Maxwell name was 'in the dirt' at home. Amid the family's reputational and financial woes, she had to make her own way in New York and forge new friendships, he said.

One of those was with Epstein, a onetime teacher who built his own fortune on the back of contacts like the former CEO of the parent company of lingerie retailer Victoria´s Secret.

In sworn testimony for an earlier civil case, Ghislaine Maxwell acknowledged that she had a romantic relationship with Epstein but said she later became his employee, tasked with things like hiring staff for his six homes.

In the trial, prosecutors will focus on four women who say they were recruited by Maxwell as teenagers to be abused by Jeffrey Epstein (pictured in 2004)

'I hired assistants, architects, decorators, cooks, cleaners, gardeners, pool people, pilots. I hired all sorts of people,´´ Maxwell said during a deposition in April 2016. 'A very small part of my job was to find adult professional massage therapists for Jeffrey. As far as I´m concerned, everyone who came to his house was an adult professional person.'

But in 2005, Epstein was arrested in Palm Beach, Florida, and accused of hiring multiple underage girls - many students at a local high school - to perform sex acts. He pleaded guilty to a charge of procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and served 13 months in jail.

Years of civil litigation followed, in which women accused Epstein and Maxwell of sexual abuse. Prosecutors in New York revived the case and charged Epstein with sex trafficking in 2019, but he killed himself in jail before he could face trial.

The indictment against Maxwell is based on accusations from four women who say she recruited them to give Epstein massages that progressed into sexual abuse. One was just 14 at the time. 

Maxwell sometimes participated in the sexual encounters and was involved in paying at least one accuser, prosecutors allege.

One alleged victim in the prosecution case has given up her right to anonymity. She is Annie Farmer, who alleged Maxwell and Epstein sexually abused her when she was 16 in 1996

Annie Farmer alleges she was 16 when she was tricked into visiting Epstein's New Mexico ranch under the guise of attending an event for college-bound students. 

But when she arrived, there were no other students. She said Maxwell tried to groom her by taking her to the movies and shopping, and giving her an unsolicited massage while the teenager was topless.

Although she is not identified by name in court documents, Farmer has described her experiences in interviews with ABC and The New York Times. When Maxwell - a citizen of the U.S., U.K. and France - sought bail, Farmer asked the judge to deny it, calling her a 'psychopath.'

'I do not believe that ... any of the women she exploited will see justice if she is released on bail,' Farmer wrote in a letter to the court. 

'She has lived a life of privilege, abusing her position of power to live beyond the rules. Fleeing the country in order to escape once more would fit with her long history of anti-social behavior.'

Virginia Giuffre, who has filed a related civil lawsuit against Britain's Prince Andrew but is not part of the criminal case, has described Maxwell as a 'Mary Poppins' figure who made young girls feel comfortable as they were being lured into Epstein's web.

Ian Maxwell has claimed he only met Epstein once while Ghislaine and him dated 

Giuffre alleges Epstein lent her out for sex with his wealthy and powerful associates, including Prince Andrew, when she was 17. Maxwell, a long-time friend of Andrew, is known to have introduced the prince to Epstein.

Other encounters with Andrew occurred at Epstein's homes in Manhattan and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Giuffre's lawsuit. Andrew denies the allegations.

Giuffre has sued the royal in New York, alleging he had sex with her more than 20 years ago when she a minor under US law. That civil lawsuit is expected to be heard before a jury in late 2022.

Prince Andrew has not been criminally charged and has 'unequivocally' denied the allegations. Giuffre, now 38, is not part of the criminal case against Maxwell. 

Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages, but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal. 

Prosecutors say Maxwell went into hiding after Epstein's suicide, moving into a gated New Hampshire home she bought for $1 million - with a husband her lawyers have declined to publicly identify - and wrapping her cellphone in foil to ward off hacking.

Back in late April, her lawyer released the first photo of the jailed socialite since her arrest last year, with Maxwell sporting a black eye, pictured above

Maxwell was just protecting herself from the press, her lawyers said in court papers - a notion U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan rejected.

Nathan repeatedly denied Maxwell bail, deeming the risk of her fleeing too great. The judge's decision has left Maxwell isolated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, confined to a small cell equipped with a toilet and a concrete bed. Ian Maxwell said imprisonment is preventing his sister from receiving a fair trial.

Ghislaine Maxwell has remained mostly silent about the Epstein allegations over nearly two decades, but in a 2016 deposition in a civil case, she said she learned about the allegations against him 'like everybody else, like the rest of the world, when it was announced in the papers.´´

She said she never saw Epstein getting massages from anyone under 18 and that no one ever complained to her that Epstein demanded sex. 

'Never,' she declared.

With Epstein gone and no apparent recordings of alleged incidents that occurred two decades ago, the trial will likely hinge on the women's allegations and Maxwell's denial.