A jury found Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, guilty on five of six counts after she facilitated a scheme that enticed minor girls to travel and engage in sexual relations with her former partner, serial sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
“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 long-time partner and co-conspirator, Jeffrey Epstein,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York said in a statement. “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. Their courage and willingness to face their abuser made this case, and today’s result, possible.”
Although Maxwell pleaded not guilty, the jury found that between 1994 and 2004, she engaged in sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, as well as three conspiracy charges related to the sex scheme. She was found not guilty of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts but still faces up to 65 years in prison.
Over the duration of Maxwell’s trial, prosecutors claimed that Epstein’s assistant helped orchestrate the elaborate sex abuse network that shipped underage girls out to Epstein’s island in the Caribbean and his home in Palm Beach, Fla., for him to groom and sexually abuse. They used the testimonies of four women who said they not only suffered sexual abuse from Epstein but also claimed Maxwell “facilitated and sometimes participated” in the actions.
“It is crystal clear that Maxwell knew about and was deeply involved in Epstein’s sexual abuse of children,” Alison Moe, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in her closing argument. “Maxwell was key to the whole operation.”
Maxwell refused to testify at the trial but her lawyers argued that she is being blamed for the crimes and actions of Epstein, who died in 2019 in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City while awaiting his trial on federal sex-trafficking charges. One year after Epstein’s death, Maxwell was arrested after eluding authorities using new email addresses and phone numbers, quietly living on a property in Bradford, N.H., that she had paid for with cash.