Ghislaine Maxwell calls meeting Jeffrey Epstein "greatest mistake of my life"

In her first interview since being convicted last year on charges of helping convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein groom, recruit and sexually abuse underage girls, Ghislaine Maxwell said that "meeting Epstein was the greatest mistake of my life."

"If I could go back today, I would avoid meeting him, and I would say that that would be the greatest mistake I've ever made, and I would make different choices for where I would work," Maxwell told senior international interviewer Daphne Barak in August from the Florida prison where she's serving her sentence. The interview will be aired in an upcoming special on Paramount+, and this excerpt was heard first on "CBS Mornings."

Maxwell said she started to feel that way about Epstein "after he got into trouble" in Florida, where he pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges of felony solicitation of prostitution and charges of procuring a person under 18 for prostitution. As part of a deal he made at the time, Epstein served 13 months in jail, much of it on work release, 12 months of house arrest, and was registered as a sex offender.

When asked if she'd had any concerns about Epstein before he spent that time in a Florida jail, Maxwell said "there were things, aspects to mention here about him, that I cannot discuss because of the appeal."


In June, Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for sexually abusing, recruiting and trafficking girls for Epstein's alleged sex abuse ring. She has appealed her conviction and sentence.

Asked if she feels like a victim of Epstein herself, Maxwell said, "I don't particularly like the word victim. It's one that should be used very sparingly because, you know, today everybody is a victim of something."

Maxwell told Barak that her arrest in July 2020, and the fact that she wasn't released on bail, came as "a total surprise."

When asked if she had ever considered trying to flee the U.S. justice system, Maxwell responded: "I never left the country and I had no intention of leaving the country. … This is where I was living and where I intended to live, and it's where I intended to go into my pensionhood."

She also cast doubt on a well-known photo of Britain's Prince Andrew with his arm around a then-teenaged Virginia Roberts Giuffre, with Maxwell smiling off to the side. Giuffre accused the prince of sexually abusing her, which he denied. He paid an undisclosed amount to settle her lawsuit last February.

Britain's Prince Andrew is seen in a file photo with Virginia Giuffre (center) and Ghislaine Maxwell. / Credit: Rex Features
Britain's Prince Andrew is seen in a file photo with Virginia Giuffre (center) and Ghislaine Maxwell. / Credit: Rex Features

Though Maxwell had previously indicated in an email to former Epstein attorney Alan Dershowitz that the photo was real, she now says she believes there are more than 50 problems with the image.

"I don't recognize that picture, and I don't believe it is a real picture," Maxwell said in the interview. "There is no original… and there are that many other things besides that, I cannot hardly get into. But I would very much like to, and as soon as the appeal is over, I will be very happy to discuss it with you.

In the meantime, Maxwell said she is committed to helping her fellow inmates.

"The opportunity that I have is to use whatever abilities I have to help the people that are around me, because the people who are around me, some of them really don't have much," Maxwell said. "There are many people here who don't speak any English. There are people here who are indigent. There are people here who are not educated. I mean, there are many people here who don't even have a TV. So I look at it as an opportunity whilst I'm here to use whatever abilities I have to help those other people who have less than I do. Because by comparison, I have a lot. I have, you know, much more because I'm educated, and I use the skills that I have to help them. And honestly, it's very rewarding."

Train slams bus sitting on Dutch railroad crossing

Germany's Olaf Scholz urges World Health Summit to continue after protesters pull fire alarm

Americans face mounting burden of credit card debt