During a White House coronavirus press briefing yesterday, a reporter from the New York Post asked President Donald Trump about accused Jeffrey Epstein accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell. “I haven't really been following it too much,” the President said about her case. “I just wish her well, frankly.”
Maxwell had been taken into custody at her 156-acre Bradford, New Hampshire estate on July 2 and charged with six counts related to the sexual abuse of young women. She was denied bail a week later and is currently in jail in Brooklyn.
Trump has known Maxwell for decades, and while it is unusual for a sitting President to comment on an ongoing criminal investigation, let alone offer verbal support to the accused, Trump has done so on several occasions, including during the prosecution of Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
Here's everything we know about the President's relationship with Maxwell.
The Party Circuit
Maxwell is the daughter of the late, disgraced English publishing mogul Robert Maxwell whose body was found in the Atlantic ocean in 1991 after he reportedly fell overboard off his yacht. She has lived in the United States for decades and she, Epstein, and the President were regulars on the same social circuit during the 1980s and 90s.
“I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach,” the President said yesterday.
The Epstein Connection
"They” refers to Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, with whom the President once had a friendly relationship. Epstein owned a mansion Palm Beach where Maxwell reportedly lived and, according to her indictment, brought underage women to have sex with Epstein.
Before his sexual assault conviction in 2009, Epstein attended many of the same Palm Beach and New York City parties as Trump and the two were frequently photographed together. In 1992, Epstein and Trump were the VIP guests at a party for 28 “calendar girls” held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club resort. Trump was filmed whispering something in Epstein’s ear, which caused the financier to double over in laughter.
In 2002, Trump told New York Magazine writer Landon Thomas Jr., “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. 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.”
In July of 2019, after a Miami Herald story brought renewed attention to Epstein’s case that ultimately led to his rearrest, Trump told reporters at the Oval Office that he had cut off his friendship with the financier. “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”
According to the New York Times, however, Epstein had continued to play up their association claiming that he had introduced Trump to his third wife, Melania Knauss.
The Fashion Connection
In 2000, Maxwell and Trump were seated next to each other at a fashion show for designer Anand Jon. During her modeling career, President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, sometimes worked as a model at Jon’s runway shows.
Jon, who won numerous fashion awards and appeared on America’s Next Top Model, was arrested in 2007 and charged with rape, sexual battery, lewd acts on a child, and other offenses. He is currently serving a 59-year-to-life sentence for rape.
The Prince Andrew Connection
President Trump also has a connection to Prince Andrew, a longtime friend of Ghislaine Maxwell and one-time friend of Jeffrey Epstein’s. In December 2019, after a poorly received television interview in which the Duke of York attempted to explain his relationship with Epstein, Trump told reporters in London “I don't know Prince Andrew, but it's a tough story,”
But a 2000 People magazine interview resurfaced, in which Trump was quoted saying of Prince Andrew, “He’s not pretentious. He’s a lot of fun to be with.” In the same story, Trump also told People that his then-girlfriend Melania, had chatted with the Duke at a halloween party.
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