The jury reached a guilty verdict in the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend.
The jury found Maxwell guilty on five of six counts on Wednesday, including conspiracy to entice individuals under 17 to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in “illegal sexual activity,” conspiracy to transport individuals under 17 to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in “illegal sexual activity,” transportation of an individual under 17 with intent to engage in “illegal sexual activity,” conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of individuals under 18, and sex trafficking of an individual under 18.
Maxwell is expected to appear for a sentencing hearing at a later date.
Maxwell has been on trial in Manhattan federal court since late November on charges of recruiting minor girls as young as 13 for Epstein to sexually abuse and in some cases personally participating in the sexual abuse.
Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 before the well-connected and wealthy financier could go on trial for his alleged decades of grooming and sexual abuse, including rape, of young girls in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Maxwell, who spent her 60th birthday in jail on Saturday, is charged with eight counts related to the sex trafficking of minors over a decade-long period between 1994 and 2004, including sex trafficking of a minor, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. A separate, later trial will consider two perjury charges against the British socialite.
Maxwell pled not guilty to all counts. The charges against her carry up to 70 years in prison.
Earlier this month, Maxwell opted not to testify herself in her own defense at her trial.
The prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments last week on Monday as the trial entered its fourth week just before Christmas.
Over the course of the trial, the prosecution painted a picture of a pair of fully-grown adults, Maxwell and Epstein, who were “partners in crime” and had a “playbook” for targeting minors and sexually abusing them.
“Ghislaine Maxwell was dangerous. She was a grown woman who preyed on vulnerable kids,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe said in closing arguments.
Maxwell and Epstein’s “horrifying crimes” caused “deep and lasting harm to young girls,” Moe said.
The defense attempted to cast doubt on the credibility of Maxwell’s accusers, saying the women have “contaminated” memories of their abuse. The defense also tried to assign selfish motives to nearly all the government’s witnesses, saying the women are motivated by money in going after Maxwell decades after the alleged abuse occurred.
Over the course of the trial, the jury heard from four of Maxwell’s accusers, several former Epstein employees, a psychologist specializing in sexual abuse, and a memory expert that Maxwell’s defense called, among others.
One of Maxwell’s accusers, a woman testifying under the pseudonym “Jane,” testified that Epstein and Maxwell abused her together when she was just 14 years old. Maxwell took her on shopping trips, asked her about her life, and discussed sexual topics with her, “Jane” said.
Three other women who say they were groomed or abused by Maxwell also testified. A woman testifying under the name “Kate” told the court that Maxwell set up meetings for girls to give Epstein sexualized massages. Another woman, Carolyn, testifying only under her first name, said that she was 14 when Maxwell touched her breasts and behind and told her she “had a great body for Epstein and his friends.” Annie Farmer, testifying under her real full name, last testified on Friday and said Maxwell massaged her naked breasts when she was 16.
Meanwhile, Maxwell fostered a “culture of silence” working as his “lady of the house” and taking care of his multiple residences, making hiring and firing decisions regarding his staff, and laying down “strict” rules for them, prosecutors said.
The trial prompted speculation that incriminating information could potentially come to light about some of the high-profile names connected to Epstein, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Bobby Kennedy Jr., and former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell. However, the trial revealed little new information about Epstein’s circle of friends.
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