Breaking: Jury Reaches Verdict in Ghislaine Maxwell's Sex Trafficking Trial
The jury has come to a verdict in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial.
After five days of deliberation, the jury found Maxwell guilty on five of six counts, The Associated Press reported.
Maxwell now faces up to 40 years in prison for each charge. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
The prosecution worked to prove that Maxwell helped late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually exploit and abuse girls.
Maxwell was arrested in July 2020, which was nearly a year after Epstein’s death. Her trial then began on Nov. 29.
Despite many requests for bail, Maxwell was kept in a federal lockup in Brooklyn while she waited nearly a year and a half for her trial to begin, ABC News reported.
So what was Maxwell’s relationship to Epstein?
Based on numerous accounts, the two were romantically involved, but Maxwell said that eventually, she transitioned more to the role of an employee.
“Prosecutors have accused of her as functioning as Epstein’s madam, procuring underage girls to satisfy him sexually,” ABC News reported.
Maxwell, now 59 years old, faced six different charges, according to The New York Times. She faced two counts of violating the Mann Act, which bars transporting people across state lines for illicit sexual activity. She faced two counts of conspiring to violate the Mann Act.
Maxwell also faced one count for sex trafficking of a minor and one count for sex trafficking conspiracy. Maxwell pleaded not guilty to all six counts.
The Times reported the charges concerning the Mann Act related to the testimony of a woman that went by “Jane.” She testified that Epstein abused her in 1994, when she was 14 years old.
Jane said that she traveled from her home in Florida to Epstein’s homes in New York and New Mexico, and that she traveled on Epstein’s private plane as well as commercial flights. She testified Maxwell assisted in those traveling arrangements, and Jane said she participated in sexual encounters during the trips.
The charges for sex trafficking and conspiracy came from the testimony of “Carolyn,” according to the Times. She testified that in 2002, when she was 14 years old, she had sexual contact with Epstein. She also testified that Maxwell paid her hundreds of dollars after she gave Epstein erotic massages, and that Maxwell would arrange appointments and sometimes the transportation for these massages.
Four women testified in the case against Maxwell that they were sexually abused by Epstein, CNN reported.
Maxwell opted out of testifying in her case and told the judge it was because the prosecution had failed to prove their case against her, ABC reported.
Maxwell’s lawyers argued that the prosecution was simply using Maxwell as a scapegoat for Epstein, since he died in jail in 2019 before he went to trial on sex abuse charges.
Maxwell’s defense also said the accusers’ memories had been corrupted over the decades and that the women only testified against Maxwell because they thought cooperating with prosecutors would help the claims they made to a victims’ compensation fund that is run by Epstein’s estate, U.S. News reported.
Maxwell’s defense argued in its closing that prosecutors did not prove that Maxwell knew that Epstein was having sexual encounters with underage girls.
But “prosecutors are not required to prove that Maxwell had specific knowledge of any crimes Epstein committed if they show that she deliberately took steps to avoid confirming key facts, according to an instruction U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan gave jurors before they began deliberations late on Monday afternoon,” U.S. News reported.
The jury was evenly split between six men and six women, according to CNBC.
The jury began deliberation late on Dec. 20. In the process of deliberations, the jury requested the transcripts of the testimony of “Jane,” “Carolyn,” and Annie Farmer, who has spoken publicly about her experiences, Politico reported.
The jury also asked for the FBI notes on an interview with one of the accusers in 2007, but they were denied, according to CNBC.
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