The jury in Ghislaine Maxwell's trial has reached a verdict, after deliberating for more than a week. According to The New York Times, Maxwell — a friend and partner of Jeffrey Epstein — has been found guilty of sex trafficking, as well as four other charges against her. She was acquitted of one count of "enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in an illegal sexual act."
Epstein was arrested in July 2019 on charges of sex trafficking children in Florida and New York. He died in jail the following month, with the cause of death being declared suicide. In July 2020, Maxwell was arrested and charged with six federal crimes, including sex trafficking, enticement of minors, and perjury. She has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, and was previously denied bail. Maxwell's trial began on Nov. 29, with prosecutors and the defense resting on Dec. 20, after six hours of closing arguments.
Over the course of the trial, the 12 jurors heard testimony from roughly 30 witnesses, including four who claim to have been sexually abused by Maxwell and Epstein. "She was a sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing," Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe said to the jury during Monday's closing arguments. "She ran the same playbook again and again and again."
Defending Maxwell, the former socialite's lawyer Laura Menninger argued, "Ghislaine Maxwell is an innocent woman, wrongfully accused of crimes she did not commit." The attorney continued, "She's being tried here for being with Jeffrey Epstein. Maybe that's the biggest mistake of her life, but it's not a crime." Menninger then added, "Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein." Maxwell's sentencing will come at a later date, but she is facing upwards of 70 years behind bars.
It has been long speculated that Maxwell and Epstein may have had nefarious dealings with wealthy and powerful individuals, but no concrete proof has yet been brought forward. Following Maxwell's arrest, Christopher Mason — a TV host and journalist who has known her since the 1980s — told reporters that he is sure Maxwell has copies of incriminating videos showing Epstein and others. "Ghislaine has always been as cunning as they come. She wasn't going to be with Epstein all those years and not have some insurance," Mason said. "The secret stash of sex tapes I believe Ghislaine has squirreled away could end up being her get-out-of-jail card if the authorities are willing to trade."