Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted on Wednesday evening by a Manhattan court of sex trafficking and grooming underage girls for years as pedophile Jeffery Epstein's madam, capping a stunning fall from grace that could now see her spend the rest of her life in jail. Maxwell was convicted after six days of deliberation by a jury of six men and six women.
Maxwell, who turned 60 on Christmas, sat unmoved in the courtroom as the unanimous verdict on five of six counts was read aloud. The disgraced British socialite was arrested in July 2020 and was charged with involvement in ex-boyfriend Epstein's sexual abuse of teenage girls, some as young as 14.
Finally Proven Guilty
Besides being convicted of sex-trafficking, Maxwell was found guilty of conspiracy to entice individuals under the age of 17 to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity and conspiracy to transport individuals under the age of 17 to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity. She was also found guilty of transportation of an individual under the age of 17 with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity; and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of individuals under the age of 18.
The British socialite was found guilty on five of the six counts except enticing an individual under the age of 17 to travel with intent to engage in illegal sex acts.
Following the guilty verdict, Damian Williams, the Manhattan US attorney, said in a statement: "A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable: facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children. Crimes that she committed with her long-time partner and co-conspirator, Jeffrey Epstein."
Maxwell's conviction could now see her face a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison for all the five counts, giving her ample motivation to "flip" and discuss the actions of others within Epstein's circle. Sex trafficker and convicted pedophile Epstein had died by suicide in jail in August 2019.
As the verdict was read, Maxwell appeared to remain expressionless and looked forward. When judge Alison Nathan finished reading the verdict, Maxwell poured herself a cup of water from a bottle of water that was in front of her and took a drink.
It is now the end of the road for Maxwell. She could now be willing to implicate others in order to reduce her sentence. But that will atke some time.
Epstein's victims have been calling for others he associated with to be held accountable. The victims who have come out in public have also been pointing out that Epstein counted a plethora of famous faces among his friends. Epstein, a convicted sex offender and presumed billionaire, counted Prince Andrew and former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump as cronies.
On Wednesday, while the closing statements were being prepapred, Maxwell's lawyers had argued that she too was a victim and an innocent scapegoat in the Epstein saga. However, prosecutors convinced the 12 jurors that she was a "sophisticated predator" who exploited young, vulnerable girls. "Maxwell was Jeffrey Epstein's right hand," Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe said in her closing statement.
When Maxwell left the courtroom, she glanced quickly at her siblings, who were seated in the front row of the gallery. The verdict marks a dramatic conclusion to an unexpectedly fast-moving trial. The proceedings were originally expected to take at least six weeks but wrapped up in record time. Prosecutors called 24 witnesses over 10 days, and defense attorneys called nine witnesses over two days.
The first accuser to take the stand, Jane, told the jury that she met Epstein and Maxwell after they approached her at a Michigan arts camp in the early 1990s when she was 14 years old. She was then trapped and groomed for abuse at Epstein's Palm Beach mansion by Maxwell, who exposed her to nudity and sexualized conversations in an attempt to normalize the behavior, prosecutors alleged.
"She would ask me what I was up to, if I had a boyfriend," Jane testified, adding that Maxwell claimed to her about dating, "Once you fâk them, you can always fâk them again because they're grandfathered in."
At Epstein's mansion, Maxwell and the twisted millionaire money man abused the teen together and in group sex sessions with other women, Jane testified.
"They started to sort of like fondle each other," she said, adding that they were "casually giggling" as she stood there.
"He asked me to take my top off," she said of Epstein. A second accuser, Carolyn said that she was introduced to Maxwell and Epstein at the age of 14 through Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a teen she knew from her West Palm Beach neighborhood.
Carolyn had been sexually abused by her grandfather since she was 4 years old and raised by an alcoholic mother. Carolyn said that over the years she massaged Epstein over a 100 times at his Palm Beach estate â and "something sexual happened every single time."
The others too had similar stories to tell, with Maxwell sitting through the entire episode emotionless.