Fox News 'Mistakenly' Cropped President Trump from Photo with Jeffrey Epstein & Ghislaine Maxwell
"We regret the error," a network spokesperson said
A Fox News segment about British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell — who was arrested last week on child sex-trafficking charges — raised some eyebrows because the network had cropped President Donald Trump out of an old photo showing him with now-First Lady Melania Trump as well as Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein.
The crop was in error, however, the network says.
A Fox News spokesperson said in a statement that they "mistakenly" cropped out Trump, 74, from the 2000 photo.
"On Sunday, July 5, a report on Ghislaine Maxwell during Fox News Channel's 'America's News HQ' mistakenly eliminated President Donald Trump from a photo alongside then Melania Knauss, Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell," the spokesperson said, adding, "We regret the error."
The edit appeared to turn the rectangular image into a more vertical shape — that also removed Trump.
The president is one of the network's most loyal viewers: He has tweeted about Fox News eight times this month alone, though he has vocally criticized its coverage when he felt it was unflattering.
Maxwell, 58, was arrested by the FBI last Thursday in Bedford, New Hampshire, and faces charges "for her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein," according to the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York.
Multiple women have accused Maxwell of recruiting them when they were underage and grooming them for sex with Epstein, a billionaire financier, and other men.
The indictment against Maxwell, obtained by PEOPLE, alleges she "enticed and groomed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Jeffrey Epstein, through a variety of means and methods."
Jeffrey S. Pagliuca, who has served as Maxwell's lawyer, did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. She has not entered a plea.
Maxwell — before being taken into custody — previously denied allegations of wrongdoing in connection with Epstein, who was was arrested last year on charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.
A month after his arrest, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.
His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson — though that has not quieted persistent theories of a cover-up of his real cause of death given his many run-ins with the rich and powerful, including Trump (and former President Bill Clinton).
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with,” Trump told New York magazine in 2002. “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
More recently, however, the president has disavowed Epstein. (Likewise, a Clinton spokesman said last year he "knows nothing about" Epstein's crimes.)
"I had a falling out with him," President Trump told reporters in July 2019. "I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you."