Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of sex trafficking

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of sex trafficking
Ghislaine Maxwell attends day 1 of the 4th Annual WIE Symposium at Center 548 on September 20, 2013 in New York City.Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images
  • A jury has convicted Ghislaine Maxwell of sex trafficking.
  • Jurors came to a decision after more than five full days of deliberations.

A jury on Wednesday found Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime associate of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, guilty of five of six sex-trafficking charges.

Maxwell, who turned 60 on Christmas day, faces a potential sentence of 65 years in prison.

The verdict came nearly a year and a half after the British socialite was arrested in New Hampshire on suspicion of arranging and participating in the sexual abuse of underage girls with Epstein.

Jurors in the trial came to a decision after more than five full days of deliberations. US District Judge Alison Nathan, who's overseeing the case, didn't immediately indicate when Maxwell would be sentenced.

Maxwell was found guilty on three conspiracy charges, as well as a separate sex-trafficking count and a charge for transporting a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.


The Epstein associate was acquitted of enticement of a person under 17 years old to travel for illegal sexual activity in connection with one of her accusers.

Maxwell, who was wearing a maroon turtleneck in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, could be seen pouring herself some water while the verdict was read. She did not look at anyone else. One of her attorneys, Jeffrey Pagliuca, put his arm around her. Three of her siblings — Kevin, Christine, and Isabelle — sat still in the front row of the gallery.

In a statement Wednesday night, Maxwell's family members said they were already working on appealing the verdict.

As Maxwell stood to leave the courtroom and be transported back to a federal jail in Brooklyn, her knees appeared to buckle and she shook as she walked.

Four accusers said Maxwell was instrumental in Epstein's sexual abuse

Throughout the trial, Maxwell's lawyers said she was being scapegoated after Epstein's death. The disgraced financier killed himself in a New York jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on similar charges.


Prosecutors said Maxwell was an integral figure in Epstein's "pyramid scheme of abuse," with Maxwell helping to groom underage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein and sometimes taking part in that sexual abuse herself.

Four women testified that they were brought into Epstein's orbit when they were under the age of 18 and that they subsequently became the targets of unwanted sexual contact from Epstein, Maxwell, or both. Many of the sexual acts detailed at the trial revolved around massages that Epstein regularly received.

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of sex trafficking
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine MaxwellUS Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York

One of the accusers, who testified under the pseudonym Kate, said that Maxwell told her Epstein needed sex three times a day and that she couldn't keep up. Two of the accusers — Jane, a pseudonym, and a woman who testified using only her first name, Carolyn — said that the sexual acts started when they were as young as 14 and that Maxwell sometimes participated in the abuse.

Annie Farmer, the only accuser to testify using her full name, said Maxwell fondled her breasts during a visit to Epstein's New Mexico ranch when she was 16.

After the verdict, Farmer said that she was "so grateful and relieved," with the verdict. "She has caused hurt to many more women than the few of us who has the chance to testify in the courtroom," she said. "I hope that this verdict will bring solace to all those who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law."


All four accusers testified that their experiences with Epstein and Maxwell left them with years-long damage that affected their mental health and future relationships.

Maxwell's defense team sought to discredit the accusers by picking out inconsistencies in their stories over the years and having an expert witness explain how memories could be unreliable. They also sought to downplay Epstein and Maxwell's relationship, saying the two always maintained separate residences.

Barry Salzman, an attorney who represents 20 Epstein victims, said in a statement after the verdict that Maxwell's conviction "sends a clear message that we can no longer tolerate blaming sexual abuse survivors who have the courage to come forward.

"I'm so pleased to see that these brave women were believed, and that a defendant with means has been held to account," Salzman said. "I hope the resolution of this trial will be a first step toward the closure they seek."

The Omicron variant risked a potential mistrial

The testimony in the trial was expected to last up to six weeks but ended much sooner.


Compared with the prosecution, which spent two and a half weeks on testimony, the defense wrapped up their case in just two days. They had complained about logistical issues in getting some witnesses to New York on short notice, after prosecutors shortened the case they presented to the jury.

US Attorney Damian Williams, who oversees the prosecutor's office that brought the case, released a statement Wednesday evening praising the bravery of the accusers "who stepped out of the shadows and into the courtroom."

"The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done," the statement said. "Their courage and willingness to face their abuser made this case, and today's result, possible."

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 20 Epstein accusers, some of whom also accused Maxwell of misconduct, said the verdict sent a message to sexual predators. Some of Allred's clients provided evidence to the prosecution in the case, she said, although they were not among the four accusers who testified in the trial.

"This case sends a message that anyone who conspires with a sexual predator to sex traffic underage girls will risk being prosecuted, convicted and potentially being sentenced to many years in prison for this very serious crime and other crimes as well," she said.

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of sex trafficking
Ghislaine Maxwell is seen in a courtroom sketch from her trial.Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

As the Omicron coronavirus variant spread through New York City, Judge Nathan asked jurors to spend more time deliberating. She told them Wednesday morning that they should continue deliberating every day through the weekend, including New Year's day, to avoid a mistrial. The jury was originally scheduled to not sit on Thursday and Friday.

Maxwell appeared happy as the jury took its time deliberating, smiling and chatting with family members earlier Wednesday.

In the end, Nathan's offer of additional time wasn't necessary. The verdict was read shortly before the courthouse closed Wednesday and court officers ushered journalists out of the building.

Maxwell still faces another trial in the future, on perjury charges. Prosecutors alleged she lied in a deposition for a lawsuit brought by another accuser, Virginia Giuffre.

On Wednesday night, Giuffre said in a statement that the verdict against Maxwell gave her the justice she has sought for years.


"Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell's abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed," she said.