Trump Reportedly Considered Pardon for Ghislaine Maxwell

A new book claims the former president expressed "sudden interest" in Maxwell over concerns she could drag him into Jeffrey Epstein's sex abuse scandal.

Trump and Maxwell

Image via Getty/Arnaldo Magnani

Trump and Maxwell

Donald Trump reportedly took a “sudden interest” in Ghislaine Maxwell when discussing who he should pardon during his final weeks in office.

According to Michael Wolff’s new book, Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, the former POTUS had expressed concern that Maxwell would drag him into Jeffrey Epstein’s sex abuse scandal. Maxwell, a 59-year-old heiress and socialite, was arrested in July 2020 on multiple charges related to Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring. She has pleaded not guilty to the federal crimes and has continuously failed to be released on bail

“One ‘oh, s***’ moment involved his [Trump’s] sudden interest in Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein now facing years in prison over allegations of her role in the Epstein sex-abuse scandal,” read an excerpt published by Newsweek.

The book points out that the former president had made multiple attempts to distance himself from Epstein and his alleged accomplice Maxwell. In summer 2019, Trump admitted he knew the convicted child molester but had a “falling out” with him about 15 years earlier. Although it’s unclear if Trump’s claim was true, he reportedly feared that Maxwell would embroil him in the Epstein case.

“‘Has she said anything about me?’ [Trump] openly wondered,” according to the book. “‘Is she going to talk? Will she roll on anybody?’ But pardon talk almost immediately segued to the question of if he should pardon himself: ‘They say I can. Unlimited pardon power.’”

Shortly after Maxwell’s arrest in New Hampshire last year, the then-president told reporters he hadn’t been following her case “too much,” but insisted he “wished her well.”

“I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach,” he said in the White House press briefing room. “But I wish her well, whatever it is.”

He doubled down on his seemingly sympathetic comments during a sit-down with Axios on HBO.

As we now know, Maxwell didn’t receive a presidential pardon from Trump during his last day in the White House. He did, however, exercise his clemency power, issuing 73 pardons and more than 70 commutations. Those who benefited from the move included Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his former White House strategist Steve Bannon, as well as three former GOP congress members.

Maxwell remains in custody at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, where she is awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Her trial begins in November, and she faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.

Landslide is set to release on July 27.

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