Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty of aiding sexual abuse by Epstein
Ghislaine Maxwell in 2013. Photograph: United Nations Photo/Rick Bajornas via AP
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty by a US jury on Wednesday of helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.
Maxwell was convicted on five of the six charges against her.
Maxwell (60) pleaded not guilty to recruiting and grooming four teenagers for Epstein between 1994 and 2004.
Her former boyfriend Epstein died by suicide in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges of his own.
The jury’s foreperson was expected to read out the verdict on charges of sex trafficking and other crimes in federal court in Manhattan.
Maxwell could be sentenced to up to 70 years in prison for the six counts she faced in this trial. She also faces two perjury counts that will be tried separately.
Along with the trials of movie producer Harvey Weinstein and singer R. Kelly, Maxwell’s case is among the highest-profile trials to take place in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to speak out about sexual abuse by famous and powerful people.
During the trial’s closing arguments last week, a prosecutor said Maxwell was Epstein’s “partner in crime”.
“Ghislaine Maxwell made her own choices. She committed crimes hand in hand with Jeffrey Epstein. She was a grown woman who knew exactly what she was doing,” Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe said.
Maxwell’s attorneys argued she was being used as a scapegoat for Epstein and sought to portray the accounts of her four accusers as not credible, saying their memories had been corrupted over the decades and that they were motivated by money.
“Epstein’s death left a gaping hole in the pursuit of justice for many of these women,” Maxwell’s defence lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said. “She’s filling that hole, and filling that empty chair.” – Reuters