After five days of deliberation, a jury in a New York City federal court found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty late Wednesday on five of six counts connected with the child sex-trafficking operations of the deceased billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell, the 60-year-old daughter of British media mogul Robert Maxwell, was sitting at the corner of the defense table when the jurors entered the courtroom shortly after 5 p.m. and presented their decision to Judge Alison Nathan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The judge read the verdict aloud: guilty of conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and sex trafficking of minors.
The defendant was acquitted of the charge two of enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in an illegal sexual act. Counts one, three and five carry maximum sentences of five years each, count four a maximum of 10 years and count six—sex trafficking of minors—a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. Judge Nathan has not yet determined a sentencing date.
Maxwell pleaded not guilty to all charges after she was arrested and jailed in July 2020, 11 months after her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell under suspicious circumstances on August 10, 2019. Epstein—who had pleaded guilty to procuring for prostitution a girl below the age of 18 in 2008—had been arrested and charged a month before his death with sex trafficking and conspiracy to traffic minors.
It was widely known within ruling-class circles for more than 20 years that the wealthy investment advisor Jeffrey Epstein was hosting social gatherings at his residences in New York City; Palm Beach, Florida; Paris; New Mexico and his private island in the Caribbean that included sex with underage girls. These events included all-expenses paid travel on Epstein’s private jet and attracted the participation of dozens of high-profile bourgeois figures such as former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., US Senator George Mitchell and Prince Andrew, all of whom have denied participating in the sexual abuse of minors.
While the four-week trial and conviction of Maxwell is being reported as a reckoning by the criminal justice system with the monstrous abuse of underage girls by Jeffrey Epstein and his elite social circle, it has not revealed the full extent of the participation of others within the US and around the world in his sex ring.
Clearly, the jury accepted as truthful the testimony of the prosecution witnesses—some of whom testified under assumed names to avoid being publicly identified—who were as young as 14 years old when that they were befriended and groomed for sexual liaisons with Jeffrey Epstein and others by Maxwell in the early- to mid-1990s. As was articulated by prosecutor Alison Moe during closing arguments: “Ms. Maxwell was a sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing. She manipulated her victims and groomed them for sexual abuse.”
The verdict was also a repudiation of Maxwell’s claims that she was being unfairly blamed for Epstein’s crimes and that the testimony of the abuse victims was inconsistent and unreliable. The jury did not accept the defense claim that accusers were motivated by the opportunity to collect money from Maxwell and Epstein’s estate. Maxwell’s personal wealth is estimated at $20 million, and the Jeffrey Epstein Victim Fund has paid out more than $120 million to more than 135 individuals to date.
It is also clear that the corporate media has deliberately muted its coverage and shown little to no interest in exploring important new facts that have emerged from the trial. For example, the 118 pages of flight logs between 1991 and 2006 that were entered into evidence during the trial show far more about who was traveling and how often they traveled with Epstein than has been previously revealed.
Although prosecutors had attempted to redact some of the information contained on these handwritten records, Judge Nathan insisted a less redacted version be published. According to analysis published by the Miami Herald, Trump flew with Epstein six more times between Palm Beach and New York City than had been previously known. The records show that Bill Clinton flew with Epstein 26 times, 15 more than instances had been previously known. These facts have been barely reported or referred to in media coverage of the trial.
To some extent, the wealthy and powerful associates of the couple are heaving, at least temporarily, a sigh of relief that the trial of Maxwell has ended with a conviction. From their standpoint, the less new information that is published and discussed about the activities of Epstein and his cohort of elites the better.
The fact remains that Epstein and Maxwell were the leaders of a worldwide sex ring that had many participants who believe they can avoid prosecution and that the full extent of their collaboration in criminal abuse of young girls will never be known publicly.
It is a widely held view that Epstein did not commit suicide in his jail cell in 2019, as determined by the New York medical examiner, but was murdered to ensure that he could never reveal details of the participation of his friends in high places in the sex trafficking operation. While the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell has pushed the door open ever so slightly on the depraved activities of the rich and famous within capitalist society, much more remains to be revealed and many more are yet to be exposed and held accountable.