PROSECUTORS expect Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty of five out of six counts in her sex trafficking trial, will receive a ‘very significant prison sentence,’ as the heiress faces up to 65 years behind bars.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr weighed in on the case, sharing a post to his Instagram stories that called for others associated with Jeffrey Epstein to be brought to justice.
“Why isn’t the network in his little black book being made public?” said the tweet, originally penned by conservative activist Christian Collins.
Former New York prosecutor Sarah Krissoff reportedly told the BBC that she expects the judge to “impose a very severe sentence” upon Maxwell.
“Given the involvement of minors, the judge has really great discretion to impose a significant sentence,” Krissoff said.
The jury found Maxwell, the daughter of Robert Maxwell, guilty on five charges, which include conspiracy, sex trafficking, and transportation of an individual under the age of 17 with the intent to engage in sexual activity
The only charge Maxwell was not found guilty of in her trial was count two, which was enticement of an individual under the age of 17 to travel with intent to engage in sexual activity.
Maxwell’s top charge, which is a sex-trafficking count, carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. Ultimately, the socialite could face up to 65 years in prison.
Read our Ghislaine Maxwell live blog for the very latest news and updates…
‘Trial of the century’
In what was described as the “trial of the century”, the jury heard how Maxwell snared girls as young as 14 for Epstein – and even joined in the abuse herself.
On the final day of the trial, Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe summed up the prosecution case against Maxwell, who she said was a “grown woman who preyed on vulnerable kids”.
Not guilty on one count
While the jury found Maxwell guilty on five charges on Wednesday, they acquitted her of one charge of enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
Maxwell’s lawyers have said they will appeal her conviction on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell found guilty on five counts
On Wednesday, the British socialite was found guilty of five of the six charges she was accused of.
The jury deemed her guilty of:
- Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
- Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
- Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
- Sex trafficking conspiracy
- sex trafficking of a minor
When is Ghislaine Maxwell being sentenced?
Ghislaine Maxwell was on trial for sex abuse and human trafficking charges.
She was found guilty on all charges but one on December 29, 2021.
US District Judge Alison Nathan didn’t announce when Maxwell would be sentenced, Reuters noted.
What is Ghislaine Maxwell’s net worth?
Ghislaine Maxwell held a high distinction in the high society thanks to her notable wealth.
With a fortune as large as Maxwell’s, sleuths have questioned how she amassed her riches and what she does for a living.
Per Celebrity Net Worth, she is worth $20 million.
Maxwell reportedly acquired her wealth from her father, the late business tycoon Robert Maxwell.
Maxwell’s strange ‘meet and greet’
Maxwell raised eyebrows after a peculiar encounter with a reporter at the end of her trial.
The heiress held a “meet and greet” with a journalist in court ahead of her verdict being revealed.
One of her lawyers invited senior ABC News investigative journalist James Hill to chat with the socialite on Wednesday morning.
Maxwell was seen smiling at him as he sat on the front bench of the public gallery and introduced himself.
The pair then spent a few minutes chatting before he headed back to the press bench ahead of the judge’s return to the room.
Maxwell ‘very engaged’ during trial
Maxwell’s seemingly close involvement with her legal team was also documented in fascinating sketches as she frequently hugged her defence and passed them notes.
She was said to be “very, very engaged with her own defense” – having an unusually large hand in proceedings.
Reporter Will Pavia said Maxwell was often spotted “scrunched over her desk” making notes.
“It often feels like she is directing and marshaling her own defense,” he said on the podcast near the end of the trial.
“When some of the witnesses are testifying against her sometimes she sits with her back to the wall with her arms crossed or in her lap, looking at them, or looking at the jury, but for the most part she is scrunched over her desk, writing.”
Her embraces with her lawyers at the end of every day of the trial were also revealed in sketches.
Court sketches capture Maxwell’s makeover
As her full trial got underway, new court sketches that emerged from the court room showed Maxwell had undergone a glam jailhouse makeover.
There are no photos from hearings as cameras have been banned from federal courts in the US since 1946 and televised images were also given the red light in 1972.
The disgraced heiress was drawn with freshly dyed hair – covering up her greying roots – fashioned into a bob rather than the usual pixie cut she was often snapped with during her years by Epstein’s side.
Maxwell had also slung out her prison clothes and opted instead to wear her own outfits – including turtleneck jumpers, high heels and smart trousers.
Post-arrest photos showed gaunt Maxwell
After being arrested in July 2020, Maxwell’s lawyers released a photo many months later in April this year appearing to show the socialite with a black eye.
Maxwell looked gaunt with a bruise next to her left eye in the snap which was included in documents filed by her legal team.
And in November, Epstein’s former lover appeared drained as she donned a prison uniform and handcuffs for a court appearance.
Maxwell’s courtroom sketching, continued
Maxwell caught reporters’ eyes when she again turned to draw Rosenberg for a second time when the full trial got underway – with the heiress also suspected of sketching journalists.
Will Pavia, who covered the trial for The Times, says he believes Maxwell was “trying to take back control” by drawing the artists.
Speaking on the Stories of Our Times podcast, he said: “She was drawing Jane and then her eyes swept along the bench and she started looking at me and the other reporter, Lucia Osborne-Crowley.
“Lucia said ‘I think she’s sketching us.’ And I think she was.
“She was looking straight at us and then looking down at her notebook and then making furious jottings. It is a very strange experience.
“When she looks right at you it is quite an unnerving and startling experience. It was sort of assertive I suppose, trying to take back control in some way is what it felt like.”
Maxwell reportedly sketched courtroom artist
Maxwell stunned the court room and beyond when she began “furiously” drawing a sketch artist.
Illustrator Elizabeth Williams, who has been sketching people in court for 40 years, was at a pre-trial hearing in November when Maxwell began staring at her while drawing.
The Sun exclusively revealed how the artist was taken aback when the madam swivelled round in her chair to pen her.
A picture of the tense encounter – created by fellow sketch artist Jane Rosenberg, who was also drawn by the Brit – went viral on social media.
Ghislaine could go back to court
US prosecutors accuse Maxwell of lying during a 2016 deposition taken as part of a defamation lawsuit filed by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Although the 2016 case was settled for an undisclosed amount, prosecutors say Maxwell’s testimony was riddled with lies.
Using her sworn testimony as a basis, they say the 60-year-old lied when she was asked about Epstein’s activities, denying she had knowledge of his recruitment and sexual interactions with underage girls.
According to a transcript of that deposition, Maxwell was asked at least five times if she believed Epstein was sexually abusing young girls, but chose not to give a yes or no answer.
The most she said was: “You are asking me to speculate and I won’t speculate”.
Perjury is an especially serious offense that can result in the miscarriage of justice.
The offense counts each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Appeal strategy: ‘conscious avoidance’ dilemma
The defence also objected to Nathan’s instruction to the jury that they could find cruel abuser Maxwell guilty if she deliberately ignored evidence of Epstein’s wrongdoing, a legal concept known as “conscious avoidance.”
Ghislaine’s lawyers argued that prosecutors’ theory of the case was that she was an active participant, not a mere bystander, and accused prosecutors of trying to “have it both ways.”
Nathan ultimately allowed the instruction after noting the defense itself had sought to show during opening statements and cross-examination of witnesses that Maxwell was unaware of Epstein’s behavior.
“Maxwell will have an uphill battle challenging the conscious avoidance charge, as the government presented a factual basis for such a charge,” Krissoff said.
Appeal may argue to exclude Kate’s testimony
One avenue of appeal for the defense might be to argue that the testimony of Kate was improperly admitted.
While described in the indictment as a victim, Nathan instructed the jury that Kate was actually over the age of consent at the time of her alleged encounters with Epstein.
However, Nathan said the jury could still consider her testimony if they found it useful.
“While the court limited that testimony and gave the jury an appropriate limiting instruction, the defense may continue to argue that Kate’s testimony should have been excluded,” said Sarah Krissoff, a former federal prosecutor.
Maxwell has ‘two options,’ expert says
Matthew Barhoma, a criminal-appeals lawyer in Los Angeles, told Insider that Maxwell has essentially two paths forward after her guilty verdict.
“Maxwell truly has two options: She can fight this case and take it up on appeal, where she will likely face a 65-year sentence, or she can start issuing some names of who else was involved for a substantially lighter sentence,” said Barhoma.
He added that he thought Maxwell could have strong claims in an appeals process.
Maxwell’s lawyers will appeal
The convicted sex trafficker’s lawyers have said they are already working on appealing the jury’s decision.
“We firmly believe in Ghislaine’s innocence. Obviously, we are very disappointed with the verdict,” said Maxwell’s attorney Bobbi C. Sternheim.
Bad news for Prince Andrew, Continued
“We know that prosecutors are looking at other co-conspirators in connection with Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex ring.
“Ghislaine undoubtedly possesses information which could assist prosecutors in other cases. If she decides to co-operate, her testimony could be devastating.
“She was Epstein’s right-hand woman for years, imagine what she knows?”
‘Could be bad news for Prince Andrew’
A legal source connected with Maxwell’s case told The Mail on Sunday a guilty verdict in the case could spell trouble for the royal.
“This could be bad news for Prince Andrew and other high-profile men who hung out with Ghislaine and Jeffrey Epstein,” the source said.
“It is possible she will begin to co-operate and tell what she knows in an attempt to lessen her jail term.
What did Maxwell’s indictment say?
The 17-page indictment against Maxwell accused her of grooming and befriending victims, normalizing inappropriate behavior, being present during abuse to put victims at ease, encouraging victims to accept Epstein’s help, and encouraging victims to engage in sexual activity and taking part herself.
What charges was Maxwell convicted on?
Prosecutors alleged that between 1994 and 1997 Maxwell helped Epstein to groom girls as young as 14.
Maxwell was charged with six counts of sex trafficking offenses, and was found guilty of five:
- Count one – GUILTY: Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
- Count two – NOT GUILTY: Enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
- Count three – GUILTY: Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
- Count four – GUILTY: Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
- Counts five – GUILTY: Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors
- Count six – GUILTY: Sex trafficking of minors
Annie Farmer’s statement
Farmer, one of Maxwell’s accusers, reacted to the guilty verdict.
Her statement said: “I am so relieved and grateful that the jury recognized the pattern of predatory behavior that Maxwell engaged in for years and found her guilty of these crimes.
“I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law. Even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse and exploit the young.”
Maxwell family statement
Ghislaine Maxwell’s family released a statement after a guilty verdict was announced.
It read: “We believe firmly in our sister’s innocence – we are very disappointed with the verdict.
“We have already started the appeal tonight and we believe that she will ultimately be vindicated.”
Retired Palm Beach police chief’s statement
Retired Palm Beach police chief Michael Reiter issued a statement after Maxwell was found guilty on Wednesday.
“In 2005, early in our investigation, the Palm Beach Police Department recognized the importance of stopping Jeffrey Epstein and bringing him to justice. The Department never bent to the power and influence brought to bear against us. Unfortunately, of the many other agencies involved, only the FBI acted in a similar way.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York should be congratulated for having the courage to bring Epstein and now Ghislaine Maxwell to justice, something that should have been done in the Florida case fifteen years ago. The importance of the failure of the Florida case cannot be overstated.
“Law school professors should teach this case in legal ethics courses as examples of how not to treat victims of sex crimes and as a forewarning to prosecutors on how they can be influenced to fail in their duties to both victims and the public.”
Why didn’t Ghislaine Maxwell testify?
Maxwell did not testify in her sex trafficking trial.
The British socialite, 59, was said to be “too fragile” to take the witness stand.
Her spokesman previously said: “Ghislaine Maxwell is unlikely to testify over serious worries she is too fragile and will not be able to acquit herself properly.”
Her family has complained she is shackled to and from court, and claim she is not being fed correctly.
A friend said: “There are significant concerns about her health.”
How long will Ghislaine Maxwell spend in prison?
The convicted sex trafficker could spend up to 65 years in prison.
She was found guilty of five out of the six federal charges brought against her.
Load more entries…
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.