Ghislaine Maxwell, who was a close associate of convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, recently stood trial on six counts of sex trafficking.
According to Fox News, a jury voted to convict the 60-year-old British socialite of five charges and found her not guilty of a sixth, paving the way for a maximum prison sentence of 65 years.
Family defends convicted criminal
Jurors heard testimony from four women who asserted that Maxwell groomed them as young girls to have sex with Epstein.
Defense attorneys argued that prosecutors were attempting to make the defendant into a scapegoat for Epstein, who was accused of sexually abusing multiple underage girls at his estates — including on his infamous private Caribbean island.
Maxwell was arrested in July 2020, which was less than a year after Epstein reportedly died by suicide while behind bars. Although she was convicted of most charges against her this week, she was acquitted on a count of enticing an individual under the age of 17 to travel with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity.
“We believe firmly in our sister’s innocence,” a subsequent family statement asserted, indicating plans to appeal the verdict, according to Fox.
For their part, prosecutors sought to frame the verdict as a step toward justice for victims.
More accountability to come
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Damian Williams cited the jury’s unanimous decision as proof that “no one, no matter how powerful and well connected, is above the law.”
In his post-verdict statement, Williams conceded that the “road to justice has been far too long” in this case.
Attorneys representing Epstein’s accusers continue to call for accountability for others who aided in the disgraced financier’s alleged crimes.
Jack Scarola, who represented a woman identified only as “Carolyn,” said that his “satisfaction with Maxwell’s conviction is tempered by the knowledge that other co-conspirators have yet to be held responsible for their involvement in Jeffrey Epstein’s extraordinary criminal enterprise,” according to ABC News.
Critics of the Maxwell trial have raised speculation of a coverup, pointing to reports that the FBI somehow lost track of evidence as well as the decision to keep sealed Epstein’s notorious “black book” of contacts from within his rarified world of the rich and powerful elite.