Ghislaine Maxwell, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s aide de coup, was convicted on Wednesday, 29th December 2021, of conspiring with him for at least a decade to recruit, groom, and sexually exploit underage girls.
Latest update ( 26th June 2022) : Ghislaine Maxwell’s sentencing may include the testimony of two of the four women who said she played a role in their sexual abuse at the hands of financier Jeffrey Epstein. Survivors of Ghislaine Maxwell’s crimes will once again bring Prince Andrew to the forefront this week, claiming that the British socialite “opened the door to hell.”.
In Manhattan, a federal jury found Ms. Maxwell, 60, a famed NYC socialite, guilty of sex trafficking and five of six other charges against her.
She was acquitted of one count of enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in an illegal sexual act.
Epstein committed suicide in judicial custody.
Ms. Maxwell’s trial was widely seen as the courtroom reckoning that Mr. Epstein never had.
Mr. Epstein, who was arrested in July 2019 at the age of 66, committed suicide in a Manhattan jail cell the following month while awaiting his trial on sex trafficking charges. Ms. Maxwell was arrested a year later.
Jury unable to pass verdict even after four days of deliberations
The ruling came late in the afternoon of the jury’s fifth full day of deliberations.
After the jury sent a note saying it had reached a decision, Ms. Maxwell, wearing dark clothes and a dark-colored mask, was ushered into the courtroom and sat at the corner of the defense table. She poured water from a plastic bottle into a paper cup and took a sip.
The proclamation of the verdict leaves the sentence unannounced
The jurors filed into the courtroom at 5:04 p.m., and Judge Alison J. Nathan read the verdict aloud: guilty on five of the six counts. Ms. Maxwell sat still through the reading of the judgment. She then touched her face, poured water into a cup, and drank. She leaned over to speak with one of her lawyers, who patted her on the back.
Judge Nathan did not set a date for Ms. Maxwell to be sentenced. On the most serious counts for which she was convicted — sex trafficking of minors — she could face up to 40 years in prison. Another count carries a potential 10-year sentence, and the three others, all conspiracy counts, carry penalties of up to five years each.
After the jurors filed out of the courtroom, Ms. Maxwell stood, cast a brief glance in the direction of her siblings — two sisters and a brother who were seated in the first row of the spectator gallery — and was escorted quickly out of the courtroom, without speaking to her lawyers.
Ms. Maxwell’s siblings left the courthouse in Lower Manhattan without addressing the cameras, and people gathered outside.
In the same court, Ms. Maxwell also faces a separate trial on two counts of perjury, rooted in the 2016 depositions she gave in a lawsuit related to Mr. Epstein.
Attorney Williams applauds the ‘bravery’ of accusers.
In the Maxwell trial, the government called four accusers. Two used pseudonyms and one only a partial name. They testified that they had been served up to Mr. Epstein to be sexually abused. According to the testimony, Ms. Maxwell was present for some of the abuse and played a role in enticing and grooming some of the victims.
Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement Wednesday night: “The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done. I want to commend the bravery of the girls — now grown women — who stepped out of the shadows and into the courtroom.”
Maxwell’s lawyers maintain their stance.
One of Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers, Bobbi C. Sternheim, said outside the courthouse: “We firmly believe in Ghislaine’s innocence. Obviously, we are very disappointed with the verdict. We have already started working on the appeal, and we are confident that she will be vindicated.”
The final word
Ms. Maxwell’s conviction closed another chapter in the saga of Mr. Epstein, whose lurid exploits, dealings with the criminal justice system, and a cast of famous friends made him and, by extension, Ms. Maxwell, the subject of intense public scrutiny for years.
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