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Partner in Crime

Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of British media baron Rupert Maxwell, dated Epstein for several years in the 1990s, when the pair attended high society parties and travelled on luxurious private jets. During the trial, prosecutors showed jurors bank records indicating Epstein paid Maxwell millions of dollars over the years.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

A decade-long quest for justice ended in a New York court on Wednesday with the remarkable fall from grace of the British socialite, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty by an American jury of helping late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls. She was accused of recruiting and grooming four teenagers between 1994 and 2004 for Epstein, her former boyfriend, who killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

She was convicted on five of six counts, including one count of sex trafficking. Lawyers for Maxwell, who faces up to 65 years in prison, have vowed to appeal. Maxwell’s trial was widely seen as the reckoning Epstein never had and was one of the highest-profile cases in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to speak out about sexual abuse by famous and powerful people.

During the month-long trial, jurors heard emotional and explicit testimony from four women who portrayed Maxwell as central to their abuse by Epstein. Three of the four said she herself touched their bare breasts or took part in the encounters, which often began as massages.

The jury deliberated for five full days before reaching the verdict. Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, told reporters the defense was disappointed with the verdict. “We have already started working on the appeal, and we are confident that she will be vindicated,” Sternheim said outside the courthouse. Maxwell will return to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), where she has been held in isolation since July 2020.

Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of British media baron Rupert Maxwell, dated Epstein for several years in the 1990s, when the pair attended high society parties and travelled on luxurious private jets. During the trial, prosecutors showed jurors bank records indicating Epstein paid Maxwell millions of dollars over the years. They said Maxwell was motivated to do whatever it took to keep Epstein happy in order to maintain her luxurious lifestyle. Maxwell’s attorneys argued that prosecutors were scapegoating her because Epstein was no longer alive.

“Epstein’s death left a gaping hole in the pursuit of justice for many of these women,” her lawyers said. “She’s filling that hole, and filling that empty chair.” Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, applauded the verdict in a statement that said Maxwell was convicted of “one of the worst crimes imaginable.” Epstein’s arrest and suicide drew attention to Maxwell’s role in his abuses, and to the financier’s relationships with prominent figures like former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Britain’s Prince Andrew and billionaires Bill Gates and Leon Black. None has been charged with crimes related to Epstein.