Ghislaine Maxwell loses bid to overturn sex trafficking conviction - but has maximum sentence cut by 10 years

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Ghislaine Maxwell has lost a bid to overturn her sex trafficking conviction, paving the way for her to be sentenced to decades in prison.

Lawyers for the British socialite had asked a judge to reject the verdict on multiple grounds, including insufficient evidence.

Maxwell was convicted in December of recruiting teenage girls for US financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to 2004.

In a written ruling, New York District Judge Alison Nathan said the jury's guilty verdicts were "readily supported" by extensive witness testimony and documentary evidence at the trial.

However the judge said she will only sentence 60-year-old Maxwell on three of the five counts she was convicted on.

The judge said three of the charges effectively covered the same offence so upheld only one of those three guilty verdicts.

It reduces Maxwell's possible maximum sentence by 10 years to 55 years behind bars, according to Reuters.

Judge Nathan wrote: "This legal conclusion in no way calls into question the factual findings made by the jury.

"Rather, it underscores that the jury unanimously found - three times over -that the defendant is guilty of conspiring with Epstein to entice, transport, and traffic underage girls for sexual abuse."

Maxwell - the daughter of late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell - is due to be sentenced on 28 June.

Earlier this month, the judge refused to throw out Maxwell's conviction after a juror disclosed during deliberations that he had been sexually abused as a child.

The juror had not revealed that fact during pre-trial screening in response to questions about prior sex abuse posed in a written questionnaire.

The juror said he "skimmed way too fast" through the questionnaire and did not intentionally give the wrong answer.

In her ruling, Judge Nathan said the juror's failure to disclose his prior sexual abuse during the selection process was highly unfortunate but not deliberate.

Read more:
How girls were lured to be abused by Jeffrey Epstein
Who's who in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal?

The judge also concluded the juror "harboured no bias toward the defendant and could serve as a fair and impartial juror".

Maxwell, who was arrested in July 2020, has remained in prison throughout her legal challenges.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was 66 when he took his own life in a jail cell in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.

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