On December 29, 2021, a Federal jury in New York found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of five out of six charges related to her role in Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls. Maxwell, former girlfriend and business partner of Epstein, was originally arrested in July 2020. The verdict marks the end of a month-long trial, which featured disturbing testimony from numerous victims and shed light on Maxwell and Epstein’s high-profile connections.
Maxwell had long been accused of recruiting and grooming children for Epstein by survivors. Only after Epstein’s death and the subsequent release of the Netflix documentary detailing the abuse suffered by his victims did Maxwell become a target for federal law enforcement. Her charges were a result of multiple Epstein survivors alleging Maxwell’s involvement in building a trafficking network alongside Epstein. The survivors claimed that Maxwell facilitated and, at times, participated in their sexual abuse by Epstein. Maxwell has always maintained her innocence.
Maxwell was initially charged with enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to commit both offenses, and perjury committed during a related deposition. However, in March 2021, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment and added sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy to Maxwell’s list of charges. Ultimately, the jury convicted Maxwell of five charges: sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal activity, and three related counts of conspiracy. She was acquitted of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. The maximum prison term for each charge ranges between five to 40 years. Cumulatively, the charges could amount to 65 years in prison, which would be a life sentence for 60-year-old Maxwell. Judge Alison Nathan has not yet set a sentencing date.
At trial, the prosecution called 24 witnesses. Among those witnesses were pilots and a housekeeper, who testified specifically about Maxwell and Epstein’s extravagant private life and their connections with notable figures. Four of the witnesses were survivors of Maxwell and Epstein’s abuse. The survivors’s testimony painted an unnerving picture of the abuse they suffered by Maxwell and Epstein. They echoed one another in their descriptions of Maxwell’s behavior, specifically how she groomed them through gifts and friendship and then eventually coaxed them into performing sexual massages on Epstein.
The CSE Institute commends the victims of Maxwell and Epstein for their bravery in testifying against their abuser. Following Maxwell’s conviction, one survivor who chose to be named publicly, Annie Farmer, stated “I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law. Even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse and exploit the young.” Hopefully this verdict is only the beginning of serving justice for the victims of Maxwell and Epstein. Maxwell still awaits trial on perjury charges and civil lawsuits continue, including one in which Virginia Giuffre alleges she was coerced into sexual encounters with Prince Andrew. The CSE Institute will continue to provide updates as they become available.