Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Ghislaine Maxwell Found Guilty of All But One Charge in Sex Trafficking Case

Following six days of deliberations, Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty Wednesday on all but one count in a sex trafficking trial that has gripped the nation.

The 60-year-old former companion of disgraced financier, and alleged rapist and pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, was convicted of conspiring with him for over a decade to recruit, groom and sexually abuse underage girls by a federal jury in Manhattan.

Maxwell, who has been held without bail since her arrest in July 2020, faced six counts related to her role in aiding Epstein in his sexual abuse of underage girls between 1994 and 2004.

The jury, comprised of six men and six women, found her guilty of 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 and sex trafficking of minors.

Maxwell, who was not found guilty of enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in illegal sex acts, faces up to 65 years in prison for her crimes.

"A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable -- facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement following the verdict. "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."

"This Office will always stand with victims, will always follow the facts wherever they lead, and will always fight to ensure that no one, no matter how powerful and well connected, is above the law," Williams added.

Maxwell, the daughter of a British media mogul, plead not guilty to all the charges but could not escape the specter of her former companion, Epstein (66), who was found hanged in a jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide by the New York City medical examiner.

Her defense team tried to separate her image from that of Epstein. They argued that the government’s case was based on flimsy evidence, and pointed to money as the motivation for the women that came forward to accuse her.

The prosecutors unfurled reams of evidence that the two were life partners for many decades and that Maxwell was active and took the lead in decisions related to the trafficking of women.

“Ms. Maxwell was a sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing,” a prosecutor, Alison Moe, told the jury in closing arguments Monday. “She manipulated her victims and groomed them for sexual abuse.”

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