Ghislaine Maxwell: How accusers’ testimony brought her down

NEW YORK — The British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted Wednesday of luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by the American millionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

The verdict capped a monthlong trial featuring sordid accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14, told by four women who described being abused as teens in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s palatial homes in Florida, New York and New Mexico.

Maxwell, 60, was found guilty of five federal charges: sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three related counts of conspiracy.
She was acquitted on the charge of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
Maxwell, who now faces up to 65 years in prison, showed no reaction when the verdicts were read. Judge Alison Nathan did not set a sentencing date
.”The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “I want to commend the bravery of the girls — now grown women — who stepped out of the shadows and into the courtroom. Their courage and willingness to face their abuser made this case, and today’s result, possible.”

The 60-year-old daughter of a British media tycoon has been found guilty of grooming and trafficking girls as young as 14 years old for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

There were several powerful moments inside a packed courtroom in New York City, mainly from the prosecution which kept its case simple to avoid overwhelming the jury.

Their aim was to show Maxwell was Epstein’s partner in crime, a sexual predator whose modus operandi was clearly illustrated by four victims’ experiences.

The prosecution’s opening statement to the jury began with 11 words that sounded like the start of a children’s book.

“I want to tell you about a young girl named Jane.”

But for these women this was no fairytale. It was a nightmare and it was very real. How real became apparent the following day when Jane took the stand.

She testified that Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein approached her when she was 14 years old at a summer arts camp in 1994.

Over the next two years, she said she was abused about every other week with Maxwell sometimes taking part. This was one of her key exchanges with prosecutors:

Q. What was Maxwell’s demeanour like during these incidents?

A. I would say that it seemed very casual, like it was – like it was very normal, like it was not a big deal.

Q. And when she behaved like that, how did that make you feel?

A. Well, it made me feel confused because that did not feel normal to me; I’d never seen anything like this or felt any of this, and it was very embarrassing. You know, it’s all these mixed emotions. When you’re 14, you have no idea what’s going on.

The other accusers would later recount similar experiences.

Maxwell with Epstein on his motorbike
Maxwell argued she was unaware of Epstein’s abuse

One of the most heart wrenching testimonies came from Carolyn, who testified under her first name.

The woman was visibly broken down by years of trauma and addiction to pain killers and cocaine. She had been raped by her grandfather at four years old, dropped out of school in the 7th grade, and was neglected by a mother who abused substances.

Carolyn told the court it was one of Epstein’s most outspoken accusers Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, that first told her at 14 years old that she could make money by massaging a wealthy friend of hers.

Carolyn met Ghislaine Maxwell when she showed up at Epstein’s mansion in 2001. Maxwell, she said, told Virginia to take her upstairs to the massage room and “show her what to do.” Prosecutors told jurors that by this time period, Maxwell had devised a pyramid scheme of abuse that no longer required her to personally find young girls for Epstein.

Instead, they would reward vulnerable girls who brought someone new with extra cash.

Carolyn was paid hundreds of dollars to “massage” Epstein on each of the over 100 encounters until she “became too old.” She brought three other friends to Epstein. Carolyn said Maxwell once told her “she had a great body for Epstein and his friends” before touching her breasts.

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