Maxwell Verdict Called a 'Towering Victory'

Family says they have launched appeal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2021 6:49 AM CST
Maxwell Verdict Called a 'Towering Victory'
This courtroom sketch shows Ghislaine Maxwell, left, as she puts her hand up to her face, listening with her lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuca, as a jury returns a guilty verdict in her sex trafficking trial, Wednesday Dec. 29, 2021, in New York.   (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

(Newser) – Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on five out of six charges Wednesday, including the most serious, sex trafficking of a minor—and Sigrid McCawley, a lawyer for one of the four accusers who testified, called it a "towering victory" not just for the four, but "for the women around the world whose young and tender lives were diminished and damaged" by Maxwell's "abhorrent actions." "For too long their voices were ignored and discounted and their characters impugned and disgraced, but no more," McCawley said, per the Washington Post. Prosecutors said Maxwell recruited and groomed underaged girls who were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein, and sometimes took part in the abuse herself. More:

  • What happens now. After the verdict, Maxwell was taken back to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she has been held since July 2020, reports Reuters. She faces up to 65 years in prison, but no sentencing date has been set. She will be tried at a later date on two perjury counts for allegedly lying about her role in Epstein's sexual abuse. Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial in 2019.

  • Key moments from the trial. The Guardian looks back at key moments from the 60-year-old's monthlong trial, including harrowing testimony from an accuser who said she was 14 when the abuse began. She said Maxwell groped her breasts and told her she had a "great body for Epstein and his friends." Prosecutors worked to show that Epstein and Maxwell had a romantic relationship as well as a business one.
  • Family is launching appeal. Maxwell's siblings said Wednesday night that they firmly believe in their sister's innocence, ITV reports. "We are very disappointed with the verdict," they said in a tweet. "We have already started the appeal tonight and we believe that she will ultimately be vindicated."
  • Prosecutors might seek deal. Legal analysts at CNN say prosecutors might seek a deal with Maxwell before sentencing, offering a reduced sentence in return for helping hold others involved in the abuse accountable. "I think prosecutors have a real obligation to dig all the way down to the bottom and bring anyone else who may have been part of this to justice," says former federal prosecutor Elie Hong.

  • Victim speaks out. Annie Farmer, the only one of the four accusers to testify under her full name, said she was "relieved and grateful" after the verdict, the Guardian reports. "She has caused hurt to many more women than the few of us who had the chance to testify in the courtroom," Farmer said. "I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law."
  • What the verdict means for Prince Andrew. The BBC looks at the implications of the verdict for the prince, who is being sued by Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre. The trial did not hear evidence that the British royal was involved in wrongdoing—but now that Maxwell has been convicted, his closeness to the British socialite over the years will not help his case. In a statement released through her lawyers after the verdict, Giuffre said: "I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served."
(Read more Ghislaine Maxwell stories.)

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