FACT CHECK: Did Ghislaine Maxwell Test Positive For COVID-19 In A New Hampshire Jail?

Jonathan Fonti | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 1,100 times claims the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell recently tested positive for COVID-19 in a New Hampshire jail.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence Maxwell has tested positive for COVID-19 to date. The claim originated on a satire website.

Fact Check:

Maxwell, the longtime confidante and ex-girlfriend of Epstein, was arrested July 2 in New Hampshire on charges that she allegedly helped Epstein recruit minors to sexually abuse, according to NPR. She was transferred on July 6 to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she awaits trial, according to The Associated Press.

Shortly after Maxwell’s arrest, the claim that she contracted the disease caused by the new coronavirus started circulating. This particular post features a screen grab of an article with a headline that reads, “Ghislaine Maxwell has tested positive for COVID-19 in New Hampshire jail, DOJ reports.” (Viral Image Claims To Show Ghislaine Maxwell With Wayfair’s President Of Operations)

To date, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not reported that Maxwell, who pleaded not guilty, has tested positive for COVID-19, however. A search of the DOJ website yields no results for such an announcement. Had Maxwell tested positive for COVID-19, it would likely have been picked up by major media outlets, yet none have.

The article in the image was published by the Brown Valley Observer, a website that describes itself as “an entertainment website written to satirize news events, politics, and popular faces.” That website appears to be the original source of the claim. While the Brown Valley Observer disclaims the satirical nature of the article, the image circulating fails to do so. The screen grab showing the headline portrays it as factual.

Maxwell recently requested to be released on bail, citing a risk of contracting COVID-19 in detention, but her request was denied by a judge who deemed her a flight risk, Reuters reported.

Jonathan Fonti

Fact Check Reporter
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