Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty of helping Jeffrey Epstein abuse girls

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Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty of helping Jeffrey Epstein abuse girls
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Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of helping American financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.

Jurors deliberated for five full days before finding the British socialite, 60, guilty of five of six counts. She appeared to show little reaction behind a black mask as the verdict was read out in a New York courtroom.

Maxwell could be sentenced to decades in prison. She also faces two perjury counts that will be tried separately.

“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,” prosecutor Alison Moe said during the trial’s closing arguments.

Maxwell was accused of recruiting and grooming four teenagers for Epstein between 1994 and 2004. Epstein, her former boyfriend, took his own life in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

Undated handout file photo issued by US Department of Justice of Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein (PA)
Undated handout file photo issued by US Department of Justice of Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein (PA)

Maxwell’s attorneys had argued she was being used as a scapegoat for Epstein and sought to portray the accounts of her four accusers as not credible.

The pair had dated for several years in the 1990s, attending high society parties and travelling on luxurious private jets.

During the trial, jurors heard emotional and graphic testimony from four women, two of whom said they were 14 when Epstein began abusing them.

Three of the women said Maxwell herself had inappropriately touched them.

Maxwell was accused of recruiting and grooming four teenagers for Epstein between 1994 and 2004 (PA Archive)
Maxwell was accused of recruiting and grooming four teenagers for Epstein between 1994 and 2004 (PA Archive)

One woman, known by the pseudonym Jane, testified that she was 14 when Epstein first abused her in 1994. She went on to claim that Maxwell sometimes took part in her sexual encounters with Epstein and acted as if it was normal.

In a hugely publicised trial, Maxwell was convicted of the following:

- Conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts

- Conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity

- Transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity

- Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors

- Sex trafficking of minors.

Maxwell now faces spending her life behind bars (PA)
Maxwell now faces spending her life behind bars (PA)

Maxwell was acquitted of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.

Accusers of Maxwell said “others must be held accountable” following her conviction.

Virginia Roberts, also known as Virginia Giuffre, said she had “lived with the horrors of Maxwell's abuse” and commended the four women who testified against Maxwell.

Also giving his reaction to the verdict, a lawyer acting on behalf of “Jane” said he was pleased “the jury has found Ms Maxwell guilty of the heinous crimes she committed against our client”.

Robert Glassman said the defendant and Epstein’s victims could “sleep better tonight knowing that the justice system got it right”.

Ms Roberts, who claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times in 2001 and two further times in New York and on Epstein's private island, said she has “faith” others will now face justice.

Andrew has categorically denied he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Roberts.

She tweeted: “I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served.

Kevin Maxwell, Isabel Maxwell and Christine Maxwell, brother and sisters of Ghislaine Maxwell, outside the courtroom after the guilty verdict (REUTERS)
Kevin Maxwell, Isabel Maxwell and Christine Maxwell, brother and sisters of Ghislaine Maxwell, outside the courtroom after the guilty verdict (REUTERS)

“Maxwell did not act alone.

“Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be.”

In a statement posted to Twitter early on Thursday, Maxwell's family said they were “very disappointed” with the verdict and had already begun the appeal process.

The statement said: “We believe firmly in our sister's innocence - we are very disappointed with the verdict. We have already started the appeal tonight and we believe that she will ultimately be vindicated.”

A date for Maxwell’s sentencing has not yet been set.

Bobbi Sternheim, attorney for Ghislaine Maxwell, speaks outside federal court (Getty Images)
Bobbi Sternheim, attorney for Ghislaine Maxwell, speaks outside federal court (Getty Images)

Meanwhile a top lawyer said on Thursday that Maxwell’s conviction was a warning to others.

Gloria Allred, who represents 20 accusers of Jeffrey Epstein, including some who have made allegations against British socialite Maxwell, told BBC Breakfast: “This does send a message to other sex predators and those who would conspire to sex-traffic underage girls to them that this will be taken very seriously, charges may be filed against you, you may be prosecuted and you may end up getting sentenced to prison for the rest of your life, as may be the case with Miss Maxwell.

“Beware and do not conspire with, or become a sexual predator yourself, because underage girls are very vulnerable.

“They are easy to take advantage of and it is taken very seriously when they are preyed upon by adults who do know better.”

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