Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, has been found guilty of sex trafficking underage girls for Epstein and powerful figures.
After deliberating for over six days, following a break for Christmas, the jury came to a verdict on Wednesday in the intensely followed trial of Maxwell, who was accused of acquiring and trafficking underage girls to have sex with her boyfriend, the late Jeffrey Epstein, with powerful figures in society alleged to have engaged in similar illegal activities.
Maxwell was charged with 6 federal counts, including sex trafficking of a minor, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, along with three counts of conspiracy, and was found guilty on all charges except the transporting a minor. Maxwell has also been charged with two related counts of perjury, where she will be tried separately. In total, Maxwell could now be facing up to 65 years in jail.
During the trial, the prosecution pinned Maxwell as being “key” to the whole operation of sex trafficking organized by Epstein, who was found dead in his prison cell while awaiting trial in 2019. Although officials ruled his death a suicide, many in the public and the media speculated that he did not kill himself, and was instead murdered to cover up his links to society’s elite.
“Ghislaine Maxwell was dangerous,” said Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe, calling her a grown woman who “preyed on vulnerable” children, and that she needed to be held to account.
“A single middle-aged man who invites a teenage girl to visit his ranch, to come to his house, to fly to New York, is creepy,” Moe added.
“But when that man is accompanied by a posh, smiling, respectable, age-appropriate woman, that’s when everything starts to seem legitimate.”
The defense argued that Maxwell was instead being used as a scapegoat for the now deceased Epstein. “Ghislaine is being tried here for being with Jeffrey Epstein,” said defense lawyer Laura Menninger.
“Maybe it was the biggest mistake of her life, but it is not a crime,” claiming that Maxwell had “no motive” for engaging in child sex abuse.
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The jury took almost 40 hours to come to the decision in the end, with jurors staying extra late each day to minimize the potential risk of infection and need to quarantine from coronavirus, as Judge Alison Nathan warned earlier this week.
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