A New York court convicted Ghislaine Maxwell on Wednesday for trafficking and sexually abusing underage girls. The then teenagers were coaxed by the British socialite to engage in sexual activities with the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein in the 90s and early 2000s, according to an Associated Press report.
The daughter of former media baron Robert Maxwell is yet to be sentenced.
The verdict comes after a month-long trial that was primarily centred around the testimonies of four survivors who described being abused as teens at Epstein’s palatial homes in Florida, New York and New Mexico.
In July 2019, Epstein was charged with sex trafficking and exploiting several girls and women. Maxwell was found to be complicit in these crimes. She is said to have provided Epstein and his associates – including Prince Andrew and former US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton – with multiple underage girls to obtain sexual favours from.
The testimonies of the four women echoed similar experiences and told of Maxwell using her charm and gifts to gain their trust, taking an interest in their adolescent challenges, and giving them assurances that Epstein could use his wealth and connections to fulfill their dreams.
The first victim to testify said that she was coaxed, when she was 17, into giving massages to Epstein that turned sexual. Another victim said that she was one of several underprivileged teens who lived near Epstein’s Florida home in the early 2000s and took up an offer to give massages in exchange for $100 bills. She added that she had also involved another underage friend of hers after Epstein had asked her to.
In an instance from 1994, a then 14-year-old said that she was instructed to follow Epstein into a pool house at the Palm Beach estate, where he masturbated on her.
Annie Farmer, who testified last with her real name, shared an instance where Maxwell touched her breasts while giving her a massage at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch and then Epstein unexpectedly crawled into bed and pressed himself against her.
Maxwell denied all the charges against her and her defence noted that they were all “for things that Jeffrey Epstein did.” Her legal team insisted that she was “a victim of a vindictive prosecution devised to deliver justice to women deprived of their main villain.”
Epstein died by suicide in his cell, in 2019, while awaiting trial.
Apart from the testimonies of the four accusers, statements from housekeepers and pilots were also recorded. Bank records were presented as evidence as well, showing a transfer of $30.7 million from Epstein to Maxwell.
This is not the only case against Maxwell. She is also named in a separate lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, who sued Prince Andrew earlier this year for allegedly sexually assaulting and battering her when she was 17. The trial in Giuffre’s case is still pending.