What the ‘GMax’ Essay Says About Ghislaine Maxwell’s Relationship With Epstein
(Bloomberg) -- Ghislaine Maxwell didn’t take the stand at her sex-trafficking trial, but the jury may have heard from her nonetheless.
Prosecutors presented as evidence of her close relationship with Jeffrey Epstein a brief 2002 essay they said she wrote under the name “GMax.” Maxwell, 60, has pleaded not guilty to charges she procured underage girls for sexual abuse by Epstein, her ex-boyfriend and employer, and participated in some of the abuse herself.
“Jeffrey and Ghislaine have been together, a couple, for the last 11 years,” GMax wrote. “They are, contrary to what many people think, rarely apart — I almost always see them together.”
Maxwell’s lawyers dispute her authorship of the essay. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents found it on a hard drive, along with at least a dozen pictures of the couple and tens of thousands of photographs of nude women and underage girls, when they raided Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse after his July 2019 arrest on sex-trafficking charges. He was found dead in his jail cell a month later while awaiting trial.
Her defense team said at trial that she dated Epstein, but they maintain the romance cooled and that she served primarily as his top aide, managing his five homes. Maxwell denies knowing of any illegal conduct by Epstein towards underage girls, and her lawyers argued that she’s being scapegoated for his crimes.
According to prosecutors, the essay and photos prove that Maxwell and Epstein were so close that she had to have known about his sexual proclivities and that she was also integral to his crimes. The essay also shows Maxwell was still with Epstein during the timeline set forth in the indictment, between 1994 to 2004, the government said.
“Jeffrey and Ghislaine complement each other very well and I cannot imagine one without the other,” GMax wrote. “On top of being great partners, they are the best of friends.”
Prosecutor Alison Moe pointed to those words in her Dec. 20 closing argument. “Does that sound like a personal assistant compartmentalized from Jeffrey Epstein’s life?” Moe asked. “Of course not. What Maxwell described in this essay is the relationship you heard throughout this entire trial. Close partners who operated together.”
But defense lawyer Laura Menninger questioned whether Maxwell was actually GMax, saying other people had access to the computer on which the essay was written.
“What on earth makes the government think that Ghislaine Maxwell was writing an essay about herself in the third person?” Menninger said in closing arguments. The prosecution said the metadata recovered from the hard drive ties it to Maxwell.
It’s unclear for what purpose the socialite would have written the essay, which reads like a letter of recommendation. Maxwell is “highly intelligent,” speaks five languages and has many hobbies and interests, including photography, flying helicopters, skiing and scuba diving, GMax wrote. She is “independent and strong willed — something which Jeffrey loves about her.”
A number of photos seized by the FBI appear to show the couple enjoying a jet-set lifestyle together.
The photos, shown to the jury by prosecutors over the objections from Maxwell’s defense, show the two together on vacation in what appears to be Italy and other destinations, attending a black-tie event and enjoying country weekends. A number show them aboard what looks like one of Epstein's private planes, engaged in sensual massages. Jurors also saw two others where Maxwell and Epstein are swimming naked together in a pool. Prosecutors said these intimate photos corroborated the testimony of three of Maxwell’s accusers that she helped “normalize” sexual abuse by encouraging them to take their clothes off and give Epstein massages.
While many of the photos simply show Maxwell and Epstein hugging, kissing or otherwise being affectionate with each other, prosecutor Moe said they were evidence of something more, that the duo were also “partners in crime.”
“That's exactly what you're looking at in these photographs,” Moe told jurors. “The relationship that you saw in those photos was the same relationship described in that essay. It’s the same relationship, cheek-to-cheek, arms wrapped around each other.”
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