Dec 29, 2021 - Economy

Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty of sex trafficking in Epstein sexual abuse case

An FBI poster with a photo of Maxwell and Epstein is next to a podium where an official is speaking.

Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference announcing the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell in July 2020. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Ghislaine Maxwell, a close associate of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury of helping Epstein sexually abuse several teenage girls.

Driving the news: The jury deliberated for six days, following a three-week trial in Manhattan.

The big picture: Maxwell was indicted in July 2020 on six federal counts related to sex trafficking and conspiring with Epstein. She was convicted on five counts, including sex trafficking of minors.

  • The other convictions include conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.
  • The once-girlfriend and longtime friend and associate to Epstein was found guilty of recruiting and grooming teenagers — now women in their 30s and 40s — for the multimillionaire financier from 1994 to 2004.
  • Prosecutors in the Maxwell trial said Epstein gave Maxwell about $30 million from 1999 to 2007, citing financial records submitted as evidence. They argued the payments compensated Maxwell for her willingness to commit crimes.
  • Maxwell's attorneys claimed she had been wrongfully accused after Epstein was found dead in jail in what the medical examiner ruled a suicide. He had been awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
  • Maxwell "appeared to show little reaction behind a black mask," as the verdict was read, the AP noted.

Flashback: In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to prostitution charges in Florida state court in a controversial deal that granted him immunity from federal prosecution.

  • Officials said Maxwell disappeared from public view after federal charges against Epstein were unsealed in Manhattan in 2019. Prosecutors at the time said they were not bound by the Florida immunity deal.

Go deeper: What we know: The life and death of Jeffrey Epstein

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