Ghislaine Maxwell’s brother says he ‘fears for her safety’ after Jean-Luc Brunel prison death

The family of Ghislaine Maxwell says they are worried for her safety after the prison death of French fashion agent Jean-Luc Brunel, who had ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

On Saturday, French officials announced that Jean-Luc Brunel, a former top agent for fashion models, was found hanged with bedsheets in his Paris prison cell, a death officials have ruled a suicide.

Brunel was awaiting trial after having been charged with sexual harassment and raping a minor over age 15. He was also accused of sex trafficking girls for Epstein. Brunel’s lawyers have maintained his innocence.

Epstein died under similar circumstances, found dead in his jail cell in New York in August 2019 before he could go to trial, in a death authorities also ruled a suicide, though claims it was otherwise have become fodder for conspiracists.

“It’s really shocking,” Ian Maxwell, one of Maxwell’s siblings, told The New York Post on Saturday, saying he “fears for her safety”.

Maxwell was convicted last year of sex trafficking as part of the Epstein abuse ring.

“Another death by hanging in a high-security prison. My reaction is one of total shock and bewilderment,” Mr Maxwell added, saying it was “ironic” prison authorities now have his sister under suicide watch, even though neither Epstein or Brunel were actively on suicide watch the days they died.

Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein, and Jean-Luc Brunel. (US District Attorney’s Office)

Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein, and Jean-Luc Brunel. (US District Attorney’s Office)

Brunel’s lawyers told CNN the suicide shouldn’t be regarded as an admission of guilt.

“Jean-Luc Brunel has never stopped claiming his innocence. He has multiplied his efforts to prove it. A judge had released him a few months ago, and then he was re-incarcerated in undignified conditions,” the attorneys said.

Virginia Giuffre, who said she was abused as a teen at the hands of Epstein, Brunel, and their powerful friends like Prince Andrew, said on Saturday she hoped the modeling agent would have been able to face justice in a court of law. Andrew has denied Ms Giuffre’s claims and she has settled a lawsuit against the Duke.

“The suicide of Jean-Luc Brunel, who abused me and countless girls and young women, ends another chapter,” Ms Guiffre wrote on Twitter. “I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to face him in a final trial to hold him accountable, but gratified that I was able to testify in person last year to keep him in prison.”

Prison authorities say there was no evidence of a breach in the Santé prison in Paris where Brunel, who was apprehended in 2020, had been being detained.