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Ghislaine Maxwell timeline: The life of the British socialite accused of sex trafficking for Jeffrey Epstein

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The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell is underway in federal court in New York, where the 59-year-old British socialite stands accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls to be sexually abused by her former partner, the disgraced billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Ms Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all six charges against her and her defence attorneys have argued that she is simply being made a scapegoat for Epstein’s crimes after he died by suicide in jail in August 2019.

“Ever since Eve was accused of tempting Adam with the apple, women have been blamed for the bad behaviour of men, and women are often vilified and punished more than men are,” her lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, told the court in her opening statement.

The court has since heard testimony from Ms Maxwell’s accusers as well as ex-employees of Epstein, from his long-time private pilot to a housekeeper who worked at his Florida mansion, with disturbing details continuing to emerge.

What follows is an overview of the life of Ghislaine Maxwell, from her Oxford childhood as the youngest of nine born to disgraced British newspaper baron Robert Maxwell, to her first encounter with Epstein and subsequent arrest last year.

25 December 1961 - Ghislaine Noelle Marion Maxwell is born to Robert and Elisabeth Maxwell in Maisons-Laffitte in northern France, the youngest of the couple’s nine children.

27 December 1961 - Michael Maxwell, Ghislaine’s teenage brother, is involved in a car accident that would leave him in a prolonged coma until his death in 1967, a tragedy that marked the family.

1964 - Robert Maxwell is elected MP for Buckingham, serving until 1970.

1971 - After attending Oxford High School for Girls, Ghislaine Maxwell enrolled at Edgarley Hall boarding school in Somerset aged nine.

1974 - Ms Maxwell Attends Headington Girls’ School.

1975 - Ms Maxwell, precocious and her father’s favourite at 14, begins helping out at his Pergamon Press publishing outfit, based out of their Headington Hill mansion in Oxford, by learning to programme computers.

1980 - After completing her secondary education at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, Ms Maxwell enters Balliol College, Oxford, as an undergraduate.

1982 - Ms Maxwell becomes director of Oxford United Football Club, having established a supporter’s club while a student, after her father purchases the club, staying on until 1987.

1985 - Ms Maxwell graduates from Balliol.

1986 - Robert Maxwell buys a £15m luxury yacht and christens it the Lady Ghislaine after his youngest daughter, now working as a consultant for his businesses and running a corporate gifts enterprise he had set up for her.

January 1991 - The media tycoon buys The New York Daily News and sends his daughter to the US for the first time as his emissary.

November 1991 - Robert Maxwell, then 68, disappears suddenly from the deck of the Lady Ghislaine off the Canary Islands, his body later found floating at sea. It subsequently emerges that he had fraudulently appropriated over £440m in pension assets from Mirror Group Newspapers, defrauding 32,000 employees to bolster his company’s share price, a debt the surviving Maxwell family and the British government become liable for.

1992 -Ghislaine Maxwell first meets billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, a former Bear Stearns trader turned consultant from Coney Island, at a New York party. The encounter follows her breakup with Italian aristocrat Count Gianfranco Cicogna, scion of the luxury hotel dynasty.

June 1992 - Two of her brothers, Ian and Kevin, are arrested and charged with fraud, taking the fall for their father’s embezzlement.

1995 - Epstein and Ms Maxwell are introduced to visual artist Maria Farmer at her graduation show by New York Academy of Art dean Eileen Guggenheim, an institution Epstein had been a board member of between 1987 and 1994. Ms Farmer is urged to cancel a pre-agreed sale in order to allow Epstein to purchase her painting, a portrait of her 15-year-old sister Annie. She would later allege that she and her sister had been sexually assaulted by the couple in separate locations in summer 1996.

That same year, Epstein, like Robert Maxwell, names a new venture after Ms Maxwell: the Ghislaine Corporation, based out of Palm Beach, Florida, although it is not a success and is dissolved three years later.

January 1996 - Ian and Kevin Maxwell are acquitted.

February 1997 - Ghislaine Maxwell, now a well-connected socialite still living in New York, is interviewed by Hello! magazine and expresses her belief that her father was murdered.

1999 - The first reported meeting between Ms Maxwell and Virginia Guiffre, who would later be pictured with Prince Andrew and accuse Epstein of sexual abuse, but was then working at Donald Trump’s nearby Mar-a-Lago resort.

2000 - Maxwell moves into a New York townhouse just a short distance from Epstein’s own home in the Big Apple and the pair attend a social gathering at the Queen’s Sandringham House estate in Norfolk at the invitation of Prince Andrew.

October 2002 - Trump interviewed by New York Magazine and hails Epstein as a “terrific guy”, adding: “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

March 2003 - Epstein is interviewed by Vanity Fair journalist Vicky Ward and describes Ms Maxwell as his “best friend”, with the reporter noting: “She seems to organise much of his life”. While the pair are thought to have initially been lovers, their relationship appears to have evolved over time into something far more complex.

2005 - Palm Beach police begin investigating Epstein after a parent accuses him of molesting their 14-year-old stepdaughter at his home and paying her $300 to massage him while naked. An FBI search of his residence reveals two hidden cameras, large numbers of photos of girls and an Amazon receipt for several books on sex slavery.

2008 -Epstein pleads guilty to procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute in 2008 and serves 13 months of an 18-month jail sentence, a controversial plea deal agreed with state prosecutors, with future Trump administration cCabinet member Alex Acosta among them.

This allows Epstein to escape a heavier penalty, despite federal officials having identified at least 36 girls who could make similar allegations against him. Miami Herald journalist Julie Brown’s reporting would later indicate as many as 80 girls had been abused by the financier since the mid-1990s.

2012 - Ms Maxwell, no longer seen with Epstein, attends conferences around the world to promote the TerraMar Project, a non-profit organisation involved in ocean conservation that would cease operations in 2019.

January 2015 - Ms Giuffre launches a civil action against Epstein, the complainant alleging that Ms Maxwell had introduced her to him on the pretext of his paying for her services as a masseuse while actually intent on grooming her to provide sexual favours. She also accuses Ms Maxwell of engaging in the procurement and trafficking of other underage girls for the same purpose. Ms Maxwell denies the allegations and is sued by Ms Giuffre for defamation.

2017 - A further civil case is brought against Epstein by Sarah Ransome, claiming he threatened to physically harm her or destroy her career if she did not comply with his sexual demands at his mansion in New York and on his private Caribbean island, Little Saint James. The suit is settled in 2018 under undisclosed terms.

May 2017 - Ms Giuffre wins substantial compensation payout.

2019 - More civil cases brought against Epstein and Maxwell by Jennifer Araoz, sisters Marie and Annie Farmer and a Jane Doe accusing the pair of offences of a sexual nature.

6 July 2019 - Epstein arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey for a second time and is charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy.

10 August 2019 - Epstein is found dead in New York jail cell, apparently having taken his own life. Conspiracy theories spread that he was murdered, as do accusations of negilgence against his guards.

27 December 2019 - Ms Maxwell goes into hiding as Reuters reports the FBI is investigating her for allegedly facilitating Epstein’s criminal activities.

12 March 2020 - Ms Maxwell’s representatives launch a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the US Virgin Islands against the estate of Jeffrey Epstein, suing to recoup Ms Maxwell’s legal costs.

2 July 2020 - Ghislaine Maxwell is finally located and arrested at a house in Bradford, New Hampshire, by the FBI, who tracked her mobile phone through calls made to marine tech millionaire Scott Borgerson, her sister Isobel and to her legal representatives. It subsequently emerges that she married Mr Borgerson, 14 years her junior, in secret.

She is charged with enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children and perjury, denying all three counts, with her trial provisionally scheduled for July 2021. Ms Maxwell has denied all the charges against her.

14 July 2020 - Federal judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York denies bail application after ruling that Ms Maxwell represents “an extreme flight risk”.

18 December 2020 - A second bail application is denied.

19 January 2021 - A court hearing is disrupted by QAnon supporters, who claim Ms Maxwell is part of a Satanic cabal that secretly controls world governments and drinks the blood of enslaved children.

25 January 2021 - Ms Maxwell’s lawyers argue the case against her is a “mishmash” and should be thrown out given that it fails to identify an accuser or give a date on which a specific crime is alleged to have been committed.

26 January 2021 - Her attorneys challenge Ms Maxwell’s grand jury indictment, claiming its makeup did not reflect the ethnic diversity of the jurisdiction in which the alleged transgressions were said to have taken place.

18 February 2021 - Ms Maxwell alleges she has been physically assaulted by a guard while incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, also complaining she has been subjected to onerous conditions, including being regularly searched, kept under 24-hour surveillance and awoken by flashlight every 15 minutes while sleeping.

29 March 2021 - Prosecutors file two additional charges against Ms Maxwell, accusing her of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor. She again denies all charges and pleads not guilty.

April 2021 - Judge Nathan rules that Ms Maxwell will face two separate trials, one for the sex trafficking charges and another for perjury.

May 2021 - Her attorneys successfully move to have her court case postponed until November to allow them more time to investigate the additional sex traffic charges introduced in March.

15 November 2021 - Ghislaine Maxwell appears in court for the first time, potentially facing up to 80 years in prison if she is convicted.

29 November 2021 - Her trail commences.

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