President Donald Trump again extended well-wishes to accused sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, apparently expressing sympathy for Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime companion.
“Her friend, or boyfriend, was either killed or committed suicide in jail. She’s now in jail,” Trump told Axios’ Jonathan Swan in an interview that aired Monday night on HBO.
“Yeah, I wish her well,” he said. “I’d wish you well. I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty.”
The president’s latest remarks on Maxwell come after he drew significant criticism two weeks ago for his initial reaction to the news of her arrest.
“I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is,” Trump told reporters at a White House coronavirus briefing.
The French-born socialite and publishing heiress was taken into custody by the FBI early last month after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging her with four felony sex trafficking charges stemming from her alleged grooming of teenage girls to be sexually assaulted by Epstein.
Epstein, a wealthy financier and philanthropist who was indicted last July on federal sex trafficking charges, died in a Manhattan federal jail weeks later in an apparent suicide. Trump seemingly alluded to Epstein’s death in his interview with Axios.
“I do wish her well. I’m not looking for anything bad for her. I’m not looking bad for anybody,” Trump said of Maxwell, adding: “Her boyfriend died. He died in jail.”
Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, said upon Maxwell’s arrest that she had “played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse.” In some cases, Strauss said, “Maxwell participated in the abuse herself.”
Epstein and Maxwell had friendships with several prominent individuals in elite circles of politics, academia, business and law — including Trump, former President Bill Clinton, attorney Alan Dershowitz and the United Kingdom’s Prince Andrew.
Trump flew on one of Epstein’s planes at least once, according to flight logs, while Clinton made several trips overseas on Epstein’s aircraft. Epstein was also a benefactor of the Clinton Foundation.
Epstein was reportedly a regular at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, and alleged victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre claimed she was working as a towel girl at the Palm Beach, Fla., resort when she was recruited by Maxwell to give massages to Epstein that involved sexual acts.
Both Trump and Clinton say they broke off all contact with Epstein a decade or more ago, and Trump has reportedly claimed he banned Epstein from Mar-a-Lago.
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