Ghislaine Maxwell pleads for retrial after being found guilty


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A photo of Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of financer, Jeffrey Epstein.

Jaelly Cueva, Staff Writer

Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime girlfriend of convicted sex offender and financer, Jeffrey Epstein (1953 – 2019), went on trial on Nov. 29, 2021, in Manhattan, New York, facing sex trafficking charges for being accused of helping Epstein recruit young and underage girls to groom and abuse them.

Maxwell was arrested in July  2020 and had since been held at Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center. 

During her trial, any cameras or recording devices were prohibited as it was set on a federal court, which under rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures, stated that “the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom.” The press and the general public had access to the courtroom and overflow rooms that live-streamed the trial.

On Nov. 30, 2021, the first accuser (out of four), an actress in her early 40s who wanted to keep her identity a secret was introduced to the jurors as “Jane.” She testified that in 1994, at the age of 14, she first met Maxwell and Epstein when they approached her at a summer camp for the arts in Michigan, introducing himself as a donor at the camp. She started to receive invitations to Epstein’s home, taking her shopping for clothes and asking about her private life. The abuse started when she was 14  and went on until she was 16, from 1994 through 1997. She identified Maxwell as being there frequently when Epstein abused her; she would instruct her on how to give sexual massages to Epstein and would sometimes also participate. She said that it took her years before being able to tell anyone about what happened because of “shame and disgust and confusion.” However, she did talk about him to a former boyfriend of Jane’s who testified the same day introducing himself as “Matt.” He had said that when they were dating, she would talk to him about a “godfather” who helped her family financially. 

Another accuser, referred to as “Kate”,  testified on Dec. 6, 2021, that she met Maxwell through a boyfriend she had at the time when she was 17. She invited Kate for tea at her London townhome and told her about Epstein, and later invited her again to meet him. On that same day, an unusual request was made by Maxwell, she told her to give Epstein’s foot a little “squeeze” to show him how strong she was. Weeks later, Maxwell contacted Kate asking her for a favor, which was to give Epstein a massage even though she had no massage therapy experience. Maxwell escorted her to Epsteins’ and in there he initiated a sex act with her, she recalled a second time when Maxwell called her again to meet with Epstein. She also testified she traveled at Epstein’s expense several times to New York, Florida, and other places where Epstein owned property. She was also invited by Maxwell to Epstein’s private island to “massage” him, and she informed Kate about travel arrangements. Maxwell spoke with Kate about sexual topics, asking her if she knew about any other girls for Epstein. “You know what he likes — cute, young [and] pretty like you,” Maxwell said, according to Kate’s testimony. She continued to be in contact with Epstein through her early 30s. Since she was over the age of consent, the jury could not convict Maxwell on kate’s testimony; therefore, was not considered a minor victim. However, this testimony led the jurors to find Maxwell guilty of the conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity and conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, which all are related to the allegations made by the four accusers.

Carolyn was the third accuser who testified against Maxwell the next day, using her real first name. She said during the trial she began to go to Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, meeting with him two or three times a week during the early 2000s when she was 14. During one of these visits, while Carolyn was setting up the massage room for Epstein, Maxwell came into the room and started to touch her inappropriately while commenting how great of a body she had “for Epstein and his friends.”  She claimed to have gone to Epstein’s home over a hundred times with $300 in cash always left for her in the bathroom sink. She remembered bringing three different friends around her age to Epstein’s home, occasionally receiving $600 in cash, while the friends would receive $300. Sometimes Maxwell would call her to set up the “meetings”, but she would also call them herself when she wanted the money. Based on Carolyn’s testimony, Maxwell was found guilty for the charges of sex trafficking participating in a sex trafficking conspiracy.

The last accuser testified on Dec. 10, 2021. Anne Farmer was the only one to use her full legal name, and she was the only one who spoke out publicly about Epstein and Maxwell years before the trial. Since her older sister worked for Epstein, she met him in 1995, during the holiday season. A year later, at the age of 16, she went to Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico. She thought that she would be joining other teenagers, but she was the only teen present. That day, she was told by Maxwell to undress and put on a rub, where she would be touched inappropriately by Maxwell. 

Maxwell’s trial lasted for 12 days, until Dec. 29, 2021, with the jurors finding Maxwell guilty of 5 out of 6 charges. The deliberation of the verdict took 5 days before Maxwell was found guilty of these five counts:

  1. Transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
  2. Sex trafficking a minor
  3. Three related counts of conspiracy – they involve all four accusers and accusations that Maxwell worked along Epstein to induce underage girls for sexual acts.

The only charge she was cleared from was enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.

The three related charges of conspiracy to conveying sex trafficking of minors carry a maximum of a 40-year sentence, while the other two charges potentially serve sentences of 5 to 10 years. With this, she is said to face up to 65 years in prison.

The trial had a total of 24 witnesses along with the four main accusers; these witnesses who attended the trial to testify were a handful of Epstein’s former employees. 

Maxwell’s defense attorneys filed for a retrial on Jan. 19, but according to attorney Brad Edwards, representative of 58 women accusing Epstein of sexual abuse, says that more women have contacted him since the conviction of Maxwell, and are willing to participate and testify against her. It has not been clear whether a second trial will be held, but this case is yet to be resolved.