Away from the shenanigans of Westminster, the details of Ghislaine Maxwell’s ongoing trial have been filling our national newspapers this week. Images have been released of the British socialite cavorting with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein at Balmoral, the Queen’s home in Scotland, with Maxwell facing allegations that she facilitated and participated in the sexual exploitation of girls for her longtime companion.
In such circumstances, Steerpike was intrigued to hear that Ian Maxwell, Ghislaine’s brother, was appearing on The Spectator's Americano podcast to discuss the ongoing trial. Among the highlights of the episode: the businessman’s thoughts on the conspiracy theories surrounding Epstein’s reported suicide – an event which echoed the mysterious death of his father Robert, who fell off his boat and drowned in 1991:
“I don't buy a lot of the conspiracy theories at all. It so happens that one of the conspiracy theories is about my father – that he was murdered rather than committed suicide or had an accident. Of all of my siblings, Ghislaine is the only one who happens to believe that he was murdered. And I would venture to believe that she may also think that Epstein was murdered… I do happen to think my sister does think that he was killed. I'm content myself to rely on a suicide, but you know, it doesn't really matter, the man's dead.
Maxwell himself told Freddy Gray that he did not believe Epstein had been murdered. But he did note the upcoming case between Alan Dershowitz, the well-known American lawyer, and Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of those accusing Prince Andrew and Ghislaine of sexual misconduct . In other comments in his interview, Maxwell told The Spectator that his sister’s suicide watch regime in prison is ‘a nonsense’ as ‘there’s been no evidence of any self-harm intent’ with the businessman describing it as ‘torture… designed to break her.’ He confirmed that while he had not talked to her since 10 June 2019, he communicates to her through her lawyers and that his sole encounter with Epstein came into 1996 along with Ghislaine and their brother Kevin. Of this lunch meeting he recalls that:
“I didn’t warm to him, he didn’t strike me as a – he was a bit of a cagey character, clearly intelligent, had a certain charisma. But he was somebody who took things from you rather than gave things back… not a very lovable man, not a man you want to go and have a drink with.
In light of what we know now, that seems something of an understatement, to say the least.
Listen to the full podcast here: