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7 Aug 2020 12:40
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  •   Home > News > International

    Ghislaine Maxwell acted as 'hunter' for Jeffrey Epstein, says lawyer for alleged victims

    A lawyer representing alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein says Ghislaine Maxwell preyed on the young girls for the financier.

    A lawyer representing women who have accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse alleges Ghislaine Maxwell preyed on young girls for the financier.

    "I see Ms Maxwell as really kind of a hunter," Florida attorney Spencer Kuvin told 7.30.

    "And she was trying to bring home game for what she saw as her master, which was Mr Epstein."

    Mr Kuvin represents six of the women who have made claims of sexual abuse against Epstein, but he expects there will be more.

    "With respect to the number of girls that have now come forward, it's in the hundreds and could be even more," he said.

    Psychology of sexual abuse

    Gloria Allred represents 17 alleged victims of Epstein's abuse.

    "Predators do it because they can, because they get away with it with no consequences," she told 7.30.

    "Usually, when they're betting that they will get away with it, they underestimate the victim."

    Some of the women Ms Allred is working for have never told even their closest family members.

    "It's a process. It's difficult, and it's a painful process for many victims," she said.

    "Some of them have not told their husbands or their mothers or their fathers or their sisters, brothers or aunts and grandmas.

    "So they don't want anybody to know, they don't want to be public."

    But that may now change with a claims process against Epstein's estate.

    "As they understand that it isn't their fault, that they became victims, maybe they'll feel, OK, I'm comfortable now speaking to the FBI and the Justice Department," Ms Allred said.

    Epstein's death and Maxwell's disappearance

    Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in July 2019.

    He later died in a prison cell before he faced those charges — leaving behind what is thought to be hundreds of young women and girls who he was accused of raping or trafficking over several decades.

    Maxwell was not charged after Epstein's death and she disappeared from view.

    "My clients definitely were concerned," Ms Allred said.

    "Some of them were very, very, very upset that Mr Epstein died in custody.

    "This has been a real roller-coaster of emotions. They have been denied justice for so many years."

    US Authorities say Maxwell not only knew about Epstein's abuse, but also helped him.

    "She was a socialite. She went to a lot of parties. She did philanthropy," Ms Allred said.

    "She knew a lot of powerful men, many of whom were guests at Mr Epstein's party or parties at his various homes."

    Victoria Roberts Giuffre is one of Epstein's accusers.

    "Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell had a great way of normalising the abuse that was going on," she said in the Netflix documentary Filthy Rich.

    "They kind of made it feel like we were in this really deranged family … but under the premise that afterwards, you're back to the abuse and unfortunately, I didn't see my life getting any better."

    US authorities still want to talk to Prince Andrew

    Prince Andrew has known Ghislaine Maxwell for many years, even inviting her to his daughter's wedding and reportedly meeting with her at Buckingham Palace last year.

    He denies any wrongdoing, but he is yet to speak to US authorities about what he knows, including explaining the circumstances of how he had his picture taken with Victoria Roberts Giuffre, who alleges she was trafficked by Epstein when she was just 17 years old.

    "We would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us," the acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, said recently.

    "We would like to have the benefit of his statement."

    With Ms Maxwell finally in custody, attention is now turning to her circle of associates, some of whom were visitors to Epstein's notorious Caribbean island.

    "Epstein used to record the behaviours that went on on his island," British lawyer Mark Stephens told 7.30.

    "Therefore, there are probably tapes around.

    "There would be a lot of rich and powerful men who are sweating today."

    Mr Stephens believes that Prince Andrew is one of those rich and powerful men.

    "What they want, is to get him (the Prince) to America," Mr Stephens said.

    "Because he has crown immunity as a prince of the realm, he can't be extradited at this point in time, and particularly can't be extradited as a witness.

    "So, in those circumstances, I think they want him there voluntarily.

    "And then if he says something in interview which confirms their suspicions, then in those circumstances, I think what will happen is that they will arrest him there and then.

    "I suspect that's the game plan."

    Tapes for a plea deal?

    Now that Maxwell is in custody, there is speculation that she may be offered a plea deal.

    Spencer Kuvin is relaxed with that idea.

    "I would, I think, on behalf of the victims, I would be OK if she did have some type of plea deal that would put her behind bars for a reasonable period of time, if that in trade got the US Government to have additional information that they can use against other co-conspirators," he said.

    But it is still not clear what information she has or, indeed, what the evidence the Government has against her, which she will see before any trial.

    "It's a question of what the Government has, and she's going to be entitled to discovery of whatever they have," Ms Allred said.

    "I do think there probably are a lot of powerful men who are very concerned at this moment about what she knows."


    © 2020 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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