British Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty of sex crimes in the US

Britain’s Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on Wednesday of sex crimes in the United States, including child trafficking for her ex-partner, businessman Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in prison.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted by a 12-member jury in New York on five of the six charges against her, and could potentially spend the rest of her life behind bars.

Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, while lesser charges carry terms of five or 10 years.

Maxwell sat calmly in the Manhattan courtroom while Judge Alison Nathan read the verdicts on each of the six counts.

Nathan thanked the jury for their service, which deliberated for a full five days, noting that the members acted with “diligence.”

The judge suspended the proceedings at 5:10 PM (2210 GMT) on Wednesday and Maxwell was detained from the courtroom as on the other days of the trial.

No date has been set for his sentencing.

US Attorney Damian Williams welcomed the verdict.

“A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable – facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children,” Williams said in a statement.

“The road to justice has been too long. But today, justice has been done,” he concluded.

The charges against Maxwell originate between 1994 and 2004.

Two of Epstein’s alleged victims testified that they were only 14 years old when Maxwell allegedly began grooming and arranging for Epstein to receive massages, which resulted in sexual activity.

One, identified only as “Jane,” detailed how Maxwell recruited her from summer camp and made her feel “special.” He said sexual encounters with Epstein became routine, and that at times Maxwell was present.

Another, named “Carolyn,” recalled that she was usually paid $ 300 after sexual encounters with Epstein, often delivered by Maxwell herself.

A third alleged victim was Annie Farmer, now 42, who said Maxwell fondled her breasts as a teenager on the Epstein-owned New Mexico ranch.

– ‘Sophisticated predator’ –

Epstein, 66, committed suicide in jail in 2019 while awaiting his own trial for sex crimes.

Maxwell was arrested the following year and had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The prosecution described her as a “sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing.”

Prosecutor Alison Moe claimed that Maxwell was “the key” to Epstein’s plan to entice young women for massages, during which he would end up sexually abusing them.

Maxwell “was Epstein’s accomplice,” Moe said.

Maxwell’s defense team responded that there was a “lack of evidence” to convict and questioned the plaintiffs’ ability to recall events from a quarter of a century ago.

The team also argued that Maxwell was being used as a “scapegoat” for Epstein’s crimes after he evaded justice.

Maxwell refused to take the stand during the trial, but made a brief statement to the judge. “Your honor, the government has not proven your case beyond a reasonable doubt, so you do not need to testify,” he said.

Maxwell’s brothers, Kevin, Isabel and Christine, were in the front row of the Manhattan courtroom as the verdicts were read.

bur-pdh / cl / ec / ag / gm

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