DONALD Trump's spokeswoman has said the president "wants justice served" in the case against former associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was speaking after the president acknowledged knowing Maxwell, an alleged accomplice of pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, and said he "wished her well".
Maxwell is alleged to have played a central role in abuse of minors carried out by Epstein over a period of years.
She is currently being held in New York awaiting trial on charges of child sex trafficking, enticement of minors, and perjury, though denies any wrongdoing.
Trump has been photographed with both Epstein and Maxwell at numerous social events in the past, and this week was criticised for wishing Maxwell well despite the seriousness of the charges against her.
Asked about the comments on Fox and Friends, McEnany said: "Well, what the president was noting is that the last person who was charged in this case ended up dead in a jail cell.
"The president wants justice to be served for the victims in this case. And he prefers this to play out in a courtroom."
She also confirmed that she had spoken to the president about the case.
Epstein killed himself in a New York cell in August of last year while awaiting trial on charges for the sex trafficking of minors.
Maxwell is reported to have had her bedsheets confiscated and been given paper clothes as part of measures to protect her safety.
McEnany's remarks come after Trump was asked this week by a reporter whether he thought Maxwell was likely to give information about powerful people to the authorities.
"I don't know. I haven't really been following it too much," he said.
"I just wish her well, frankly.
"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."
Epstein and Maxwell are known to have been well-connected, and had reportedly boasted in the past about having video evidence of abuse carried out by US politicians and high-society figures.
EPSTEIN A 'TERRIFIC GUY'
Trump has in the past acknowledged that he knew Epstein but said he “wasn’t a fan.”
Speaking in 2019, he said: “I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him.
“He was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years.”
Epstein's compound in Palm Beach, where many of his victims have said they were taken to be abused, is less than two miles from Trump's famed Mar-a-Lago resort.
Vanity Fair has reported that in 1992 Trump put on a "calendar girls" party with 28 women at which he and Epstein were the only male attendees.
Footage has also shown the two surrounded by women reported to be cheerleaders from the Buffalo Bills at an event in 1997.
A photo taken in 2000 shows Trump, Epstein, Maxwell, and now-first last Melania Trump posing together at a party.
Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2002, Trump said Epstein was a "terrific guy", adding: "He's a lot of fun to be with.
"It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."
The pair reportedly cut ties in 2004 following a fall out over real estate.
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