Thursday. 01.12.2022
SEXUAL ABUSE

Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty of enticing Epstein victims

The 60-year-old faces up to 65 years in prison
HANDOUT - 29 December 2021, US, New York: An undated picture released by the US attorney's office shows British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell (R) kissing US financier Jeffrey Epstein on the cheek. Maxwell, 59, was convicted Wednesday of luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by the late American millionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: -/US Attorney Office via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full.
A picture released by the US attorney's office shows British Ghislaine Maxwell (R) kissing US financier Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: US Attorney Office/dpa.

A jury on Wednesday found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of enticing young sex abuse victims for Jeffrey Epstein.

The jurors in Manhattan federal court deliberated for 40 hours over five days before returning the verdict. The 60-year-old faces up to 65 years in prison when Judge Alison Nathan sentences her for aiding in a decade long scheme to recruit and transport teenage girls worldwide for Epstein to sexually abuse.

“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 longtime partner and co-conspirator, Jeffrey Epstein. The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

Maxwell was found guilty of five of the six counts against her. The jury found her not guilty of enticing one victim under the age of 17 to travel for sex.

Maxwell remained stoic as the verdict was read, frequently sipping from a bottle of water. Her defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca gave her a hug.

The judgment caps a remarkable fall from grace for the Oxford-educated, multimillionaire, multilingual daughter of a publishing magnate who once counted British royalty and U.S. presidents among her friends.

And the verdict represents a measure of justice for women victimized by Epstein; the notorious sex offender avoided accountability for decades due to law enforcement failures, then hanged himself in August 2019 while awaiting trial for underage sex trafficking. Many victims felt as if he’d cheated the system one last time.

That left Maxwell, whom prosecutors described as Epstein’s “lady of the house” and “right hand.” Evidence in the monthlong trial showed that she played an instrumental role in Epstein’s scheme.

Two dozen witnesses

Prosecutors called two dozen witnesses to prove that Maxwell and Epstein targeted teenage girls, many of whom were poor and came from broken homes, for systematic sexual abuse.

Jane told the court she was 12 when her father died suddenly, plunging her family into debt that left them homeless. The following summer, in 1994, she crossed paths with Maxwell at the prestigious Interlochen summer arts camp in Michigan. Maxwell was walking a cute Yorkie, which drew the kids’ attention, Jane testified.

Maxwell chatted with the 14-year-old about her artistic ambitions and introduced her to Epstein, who was walking the grounds with a newspaper tucked under his arm.

“I like to mentor young students who are artists, and I love music, and I love dance, and I give all kinds of scholarships,” Jane recalled Epstein telling her.

Epstein’s first assault of Jane took place a few months later at his $18.5 million Palm Beach, Florida, mansion. He pulled the teen on his lap and masturbated on her, she said.

Maxwell’s big-sister attitude vanished almost immediately after the assault, Jane said. Maxwell was Epstein’s girlfriend at the time, and she often joined in on the abuse that mostly occurred in the massage room.

“During these incidents, did Maxwell ever touch your body?” asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe.

“Yes,” said Jane. “I would say mainly my breast.”

The jury acquitted Maxwell of enticing Jane to travel for sex.

A basket of sex toys

Witnesses testified that Maxwell kept a basket of sex toys at the Palm Beach mansion, which Epstein weaponized against his victims.

“He liked to use vibrators that were different sizes. And even, like, those back massagers that were really painful,” Jane said.

Pictures of two of the toys, named 'Twin Torpedos,' were shown to the jury.

On Dec. 2, Juan Alessi, Epstein’s Palm Beach house manager from 1990 to 2002, described hand washing the sex toys on at least four occasions after he’d wiped down Epstein’s massage table and brought soiled towels to the laundry room. He said Maxwell kept the toys in a trash can-size wicker basket.

Alessi described Maxwell as a capricious micromanager who degraded him and his wife by imposing arbitrary rules. He said Maxwell fancied herself “the lady of the house.” She provided house staff with a 58-page manual prosecutors entered in evidence.

“You do not expound on the weather or any other subject, unless asked. You have no idea how they are feeling,” reads one rule. “You provide your service, then ask, ‘Is there anything else I might do for you,’ and if not, leave the room.”

Among other evidence prosecutors showed jurors were wire transfers totaling $30 million Epstein sent Maxwell, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey described as “we-molested-kids-together-money” during the government’s closing remarks.

An hourlong video taken during a 2005 raid of Epstein’s Florida mansion depicting Palm Beach police with guns drawn was also shown to jurors.

On private jets

The government also introduced flight logs showing that Epstein and Maxwell’s alleged child victims flew on his private jets several times. The records also featured the names of prominent passengers including Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Marla Maples, Alan Dershowitz and Itzhak Perlman, the famed violinist.

But Comey told jurors the strongest evidence was the firsthand accounts of the women themselves.

That argument represented a change of tone for federal authorities, who failed for decades to stop Epstein.

Federal prosecutors in South Florida allowed Epstein to plead guilty to state charges of soliciting an underage prostitute in 2008 despite evidence he was running a sex trafficking scheme. Epstein served just 13 months in Palm Beach County jail — victims say he continued his depraved lifestyle.

Alexander Acosta, who led the 2008 investigation as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, resigned as Trump’s U.S. secretary of labor in July 2019 amid allegations he mishandled the case.

Manhattan federal prosecutors also declined to prosecute Epstein and Maxwell in 2016, deferring to the judgment of their peers in South Florida, the Daily News exclusively reported.

“I want to commend the bravery of the girls — now grown women — who stepped out of the shadows and into the courtroom. Their courage and willingness to face their abuser made this case, and today’s result, possible,” Williams said.

Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty of enticing Epstein victims
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