Ghislaine Maxwell has been photographed at a restaurant in Los Angeles, the first time she has been seen in public since the death of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The British socialite and heiress has been accused in civil court documents of conspiring with Epstein to recruit and groom underage girls for sexual abuse.
Maxwell, 57, the daughter of the late press baron Robert Maxwell, has repeatedly denied allegations of involvement in a sex-trafficking network run by the financier, who was awaiting trial in a New York prison when he died last Saturday.
She was pictured by the New York Post having a burger, fries and milkshake at a branch of In-N-Out Burger while reading The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives. The newspaper said she was sitting with her pet dog.
A number of Epstein’s accusers have alleged Maxwell played a central role in arranging the abuse of his victims.
The most recent accusations were contained in more than 2,000 pages of court documents unsealed last week in connection with a civil case that one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, filed against Maxwell in 2015.
Giuffre has previously accused Maxwell of recruiting her to work as Epstein’s masseuse at the age of 15, when the teenager was a locker-room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in south Florida. When Maxwell accused her of being a liar, Giuffre brought the defamation suit, which was settled shortly before the trial was due to begin in 2017.
In documents unsealed last week, just a few hours before Epstein was found dead in his cell, Giuffre’s lawyers accused Maxwell of “acting as a madam” for the financier, alleging that “multiple witnesses” had testified that Maxwell was responsible for “recruiting, maintaining, harbouring and trafficking girls for Epstein”.
Maxwell has never been criminally charged. Her lawyers have not been responding to requests for comment.
On Wednesday, the technology entrepreneur Scott Borgeson denied suggestions he was in a romantic relationship with Maxwell and that they were living together at his home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts.
“I am not dating Ghislaine. I’m home alone with my cat,” he told the New York Post.
Asked about the status of their friendship, he said: “I don’t want to comment on that. Would you want to talk about your friends?”
Prior to his death in an apparent suicide, Epstein denied federal charges of sex trafficking involving minors that could have resulted in a 45-year prison sentence.
Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the southern district of New York who was overseeing the prosecution against Epstein, said the investigation would continue and hinted at the possibility of co-conspirators being prosecuted.
“To those brave young women who have already come forward, and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment – which included a conspiracy count – remains ongoing,” he said.