As of: 12/30/2021 6:36 a.m.
Ghislaine Maxwell is said to have played a central role in the sexual abuse of minors by the US multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Now she has been found guilty by a US court.
When judge Alison Nathan announces the verdict, Ghislaine Maxwell is emphatically calm. Apparently indifferent, the black-clad woman pours water into a mug, pulls down her dark Covid mask and drinks. Maxwell had refrained from making a statement during the trial. Her lawyer Bobby Sternheim is the only one who is surrounded by reporters in front of the courthouse and says: “We firmly believe in Ghislaine’s innocence. The verdict disappoints us.”
ARD-Studio New York
It took the jury five full days of deliberation to find Maxwell guilty on almost all points. Among them the most serious allegation: “trafficking of minors for abuse purposes”.
Up to 40 years in prison for Maxwell
That alone could bring the 60-year-old former jet setter up to 40 years in prison. Along with the other points, the daughter of British media mogul Robert Maxwell threatens to remain behind bars for the rest of her life. Prosecutor Damian Williams did not hide his joy: “The road to justice was far too long – but today it was satisfied.”
In the trial, Maxwell was accused of having played a central role in his crimes as an assistant to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. She is said to have helped him build a ring on the sexual abuse of minors.
Prosecutor Alison Moe had stated in her closing statement that Maxwell was a dangerous and cunning sex offender. She made it possible for her friend, the multimillionaire Epstein, that he could sexually exploit the young people for years. Maxwell recruited her for him and inflicted “deep and lasting damage” on the young girls.
Defense sees Maxwell as a scapegoat
The defense, however, insisted: Maxwell would become the scapegoat for Epstein, who after his alleged suicide in his prison cell can no longer be called to account. Maxwell’s lawyer Sternheim does not want to let that sit on her client: “We are already working on the appeal and we are confident that she will be rehabilitated.” The alleged evidence in the trial included bank records. After that, Epstein had transferred Maxwell over $ 30 million.
The trial also attracted so much attention in the USA because Epstein was friends with many influential politicians and celebrities: Pilots testified that Britain’s Prince Andrew or the former US Presidents Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump flew in the multimillionaire’s private jets. Photos show them together at parties.
Prosecutor praises the courage of the witnesses
Four of the women concerned also testified as witnesses. Prosecutor Williams thanked them, “I want to commend the courage of the girls – now adult women – who stepped out of the shadows into the courtroom.” Her courage and her willingness to confront her perpetrator made the judgment possible in this case.
Another alleged victim had not testified in this trial. Virginia Giuffre has accused the British Prince Andrew of multiple abuse in a New York civil court – mediated by Epstein and Maxwell. The Royal denies this. Giuffre said on Twitter: “My soul has yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave it to me.”
Obviously, the jury’s unanimous verdict was not easy. It took longer than many expected. Also for Maxwell, who had tried several times to get out of custody on bail. Without a word, she left the courtroom with her lawyers. And took another quick look at her siblings, who had been watching the process in the front row.
Epstein confidante Maxwell convicted in New York abuse case
Antje Passenheim, ARD New York, December 30th, 2021 6:15 am