US abuse trial: Epstein confidante Maxwell found guilty

Status: 12/30/2021 12:26 a.m.

The British Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of sex crimes by a US court. She is said to have played a central role in the sexual abuse of minors by the US multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

The former partner of the late US multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been found guilty of sex crimes. The twelve jurors of the trial in a New York court passed their verdict after several days of deliberations.

In the trial, which has been running since November, Maxwell was accused of having played a central role as an assistant to Epstein, who is networked in the highest circles, in setting up a ring on the sexual abuse of minors.

The 60-year-old was charged on six counts, including trafficking minors for abuse purposes. She was found guilty on five of these charges. The allegations centered on four now adult women and spanned a period between 1994 and 2004.

Maxwell made no statement

Maxwell had always denied the allegations and refrained from making a statement during the trial. Now she faces a longer sentence – Judge Alison Nathan will fix the sentence at a later date.

The defense had presented the case from the start as a legal settlement and proxy process, since the public prosecutor could no longer prosecute Epstein itself. The 66-year-old was found lifeless in his prison cell while preparing for the abuse trial against him in August 2019 and pronounced dead in the hospital. An autopsy report found suicide.

Prosecution calls Maxwell “subtle sex offender”

The prosecution, however, had made serious allegations against Maxwell of sexual abuse. Maxwell was “dangerous” and a “sophisticated sex offender,” said prosecutor Alison Moe in her closing speech before Christmas. “She manipulated her victims and prepared them for sexual abuse,” the prosecution continued. Maxwell appeared “smart” and “smiling” and thus lured the alleged victims, who often came from problematic backgrounds, into a trap.

Maxwell’s defense attorney Laura Menninger, however, said her client was “an innocent woman, wrongly accused of crimes that she did not commit”. The prosecution’s indictment is based on faulty memories.

Abuse for decades

Maxwell is the daughter of the legendary British publisher Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 and came to New York in the early 1990s. She met Epstein at one of the numerous celebrity parties and was at times his girlfriend. Epstein’s environment described their role in his life as a mixture of employee and best friend.

The abuse of numerous minors by Epstein is said to have taken place over decades on his properties in New York, Florida, Santa Fe or the Virgin Islands. The case had caused quite a stir in the USA because the extremely wealthy entrepreneur was known to celebrities such as ex-presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, billionaire Bill Gates and the British Prince Andrew.

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