Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty of recruiting underage girls to be sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein.
The former socialite and ex-girlfriend of billionaire financier Epstein is now facing the prospect of years in prison.
Maxwell was convicted on five of the six counts she was charged with. She was accused of recruiting and grooming four teenagers for Epstein between 1994 and 2004.
The trial lasted 13 days, including 10 days for the prosecution case and two days for the defence, and heard from 33 witnesses. The prosecution said Maxwell had recruited teenage girls and served them up to Epstein on a platter to be abused.
They claimed she was a “sexual predator” and motivated by money, presenting a case that hinged around the searing and sometimes emotional testimony of the four accusers who took the stand.
One woman, Annie Farmer, waived her anonymity, another took the stand using only her first name, Carolyn, while two others, Jane and Kate, testified under a pseudonym.
Annie was introduced to Epstein by her sister, who worked in his office in New York.
She claimed she was flown to his sprawling ranch in New Mexico under the impression it was part of a scholarship programme with dozens of other students, but arrived to find she was there alone, apart from Epstein and Maxwell.
She said Maxwell instructed her how to give a foot massage to Epstein and later massaged Ms Farmer’s “chest and upper breasts”.
Carolyn, who was from a disadvantaged family in Florida’s West Palm Beach, cried as she told the court she was sexually abused by Epstein and Maxwell from the age of 14.
She said that she would be paid $200 a time to give Epstein massages, which would always end with sexual contact. Carolyn said on one occasion Maxwell had groped her “boobs, hips and buttocks” before telling her she had a “good body for Mr Epstein and his friends”.
Jane was the first of the accusers to testify and said she met Maxwell aged 14 while at a performing arts summer camp. She said Maxwell befriended her and normalised sexual behaviour by using lewd language around her.
She alleged that Epstein used sex toys on her, and she said she was made to participate in group sex that centred around Epstein and sometimes involved Maxwell, too. She told the jury she was flown to New York and New Mexico to spend time with the pair at Epstein’s lavish homes.
Maxwell has spent almost a year and a half in prison in New York, and she and her family have repeatedly complained about the conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn.
Her older brother, Kevin Maxwell, addressed journalists outside court midway through the trial, claiming his sister’s legs were left bruised and bleeding from the shackles she was forced to wear around her ankles while being transported to court every morning.
The defence claimed she was being scapegoated for the crimes of Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in 2019, while charged with operating a vast network of teenage girls to abuse.
After Epstein’s arrest and death, Maxwell disappeared from public life. She was arrested in July 2020 at a property in New Hampshire on the east coast of the United States.
The police officers who completed the search of that home found a mobile phone wrapped in tin foil, which prosecutors claimed was an attempt to evade detection.
Maxwell also faces two perjury charges, which defence lawyers successfully argued should be tried separately.
Source: Read Full Article