Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty of sex trafficking and other charges.
After six days of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women found the British socialite guilty on five of six counts – all except enticing an individual under the age of 17 to travel with intent to engage in illegal sex acts.
She faces a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison for all five counts. The sixth count – sex trafficking of an individual under the age of 18- carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
As Judge Alison Nathan read out the verdict, Maxwell remained seated and did not appear to react. She calmly opened a bottle of water and poured herself a glass.
Her lawyer Jeff Pagliuca sat next to her, put his arm around her and gave her a hug and she leaned into his shoulder.
In the public gallery sat her siblings Isabel, Christine and Kevin: only Isabel appeared to react and hang her head as the verdicts were read out.
Maxwell walked out of court flanked by two security guards. She walked out of court without being handcuffed or shackled but her confident swagger was gone, replaced by a slower walk with her head down as she exited through a door at the back of the room which led to the cells.
She managed one look back and walked out with her head held down. In the elevator Maxwell’s lawyer and close friend Leah Saffian appeared red eyed and distraught.
Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim asked if it was possible for Maxwell to get her booster shot to protect her from Covid-19. Judge Nathan said it was ‘available’ at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, where she is being held, and that she would ‘look into it’.
Judge Nathan said the decision was ‘unanimous’ and asked each juror to confirm that it was correct by passing around a microphone. Each answered that yes it was – one male juror was seen rubbing his eyes and forehead.
Maxwell is expected to be placed on suicide watch in jail after jurors agreed she was Epstein’s ‘partner in horrific crimes’. She masterminded a sick scheme to round up schoolgirls on an industrial scale for them and their friends to molest.
Maxwell’s siblings Kevin, Christine and Isabel walked out of court and declined to comment. Christine and Isabel walked arm in arm and later Kevin took Christine’s arm and they quietly walked to the nearby office they have been renting.
The Maxwell family released a statement saying, ‘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.’
It was a sensational month-long trial filled with tearful testimony, a trove of never-before-seen photos submitted into evidence, and shocking claims that the British socialite was a ‘sophisticated predator.’
Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty of sex trafficking charges. Maxwell denies sex trafficking and other charges and had been awaiting trial for over a year in ‘hell-hole’ federal prison in Brooklyn
The sixth count – sex trafficking of an individual under the age of 18- carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison
Maxwell’s siblings Kevin, Christine and Isabel walked out of court and declined to comment. Christine and Isabel walked arm in arm and later Kevin took Christine’s arm and they quietly walked to the nearby office they have been renting
Maxwell’s defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim spoke during a press conference after the guilty verdict
Maxwell walked out of court flanked by two security guards: she was not handcuffed or shackled on her legs, seen in a court sketch
A sleazy haul of never-before-seen photos unearthed in an FBI raid and introduced as evidence showed Ghislaine Maxwell giving Jeffrey Epstein foot rubs on his private jet dubbed Lolita Express
The jury of six men and six women (seen in a court sketch) reached a verdict to convict Maxwell on Wednesday
The daughter of the late tycoon Robert Maxwell, who rubbed shoulders with two US presidents, a pope and a host of global A-listers, was utterly deserted by all her VIP friends, including the Duke of York, during her four-week trial for sex trafficking vulnerable teenagers.
The jury unanimously believed four women who gave chilling testimonies of being ‘served up’ as children for sexual abuse by Maxwell to her financier lover.
After the verdicts were handed out, victims of Epstein, who is said to have abused hundreds of girls and young women, rejoiced.
Accuser Annie Farmer, who testified she was 16 when she was lured into a terrifying sex trap by Maxwell, was ‘sobbing with joy’ last night, said her sister Maria.
She added: ‘We are proud of one another. I have spent every moment for seven years, working towards this verdict. No pay, just due diligence. I never gave up. This is the best thing I have ever had happen in my life. It means I don’t have to hide.’
Before Wednesday’s verdict, the jury asked for the transcripts of 14 witnesses: there were 33 in total for the defense and prosecution.
They asked for the evidence from Shawn, the boyfriend of the accuser Carolyn; Cimberly Espinoza, Maxwell’s personal assistant at Epstein’s New York office, and the defense ‘false memory’ expert Elizabeth Loftus.
The jury also asked for testimony from FBI agents Amanda Young and Jason Richards, the lead agents in the 2019 investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, and testimony from Larry Visoski, Epstein’s other pilot.
On Tuesday, Judge Alison Nathan said that if a verdict was not reached by the end of Wednesday she would tell the jury it would have to sit on the weekend until reaching a verdict.
Judge Nathan had planned to sit only until Wednesday and then let the jurors off for the holiday, but the Omicron variant has thwarted those plans.
She said that the rising number of Omicron cases was ‘putting at risk our ability to complete this trial.’
The jurors said they were ‘moving along’ and that they are making progress in the case but they failed to reach a verdict on the fifth day of deliberations.
But at 4.50pm on Wednesday, day 18 of the trial and after 40 hours of deliberations – the jury reached a verdict.
The atmosphere in courtroom 318 became tense and journalists who had covered the whole case hugged each other.
Two reporters ran out to report that a verdict had been reached. Four additional US Marshals arrived and stood at the back of the court.
Two court security officers stood guard in the public gallery as Maxwell walked into the room wearing a purple turtle neck and black pants.
She sat next to her lawyer Jeff Pagliuca and her other attorneys, Christian Everdell, Laura Menninger and Bobbi Sternheim, sat at her table.
Three of the four prosecutors who brought the case, Assistant US Attorneys Lara Pomerantz, Alison Moe and Andrew Rohrbach, sat at the prosecution bench. Maurene Comey, the daughter of former FBI director James Comey, who also prosecuted the case, was not present and has not been in court this week.
Judge Alison Nathan came into court and announced: ‘We have a verdict’. The court fell silent as the judge asked for the jury to be brought in.
Judge Nathan said: ‘I will direct everyone to remain seated and be quiet and calm during the reading of the verdict. Anyone who is disruptive will be removed’.
On the bench behind Maxwell’s siblings was Assistant US Attorney Alex Rossmiller, who helped prosecute the case, and FBI special agent Amanda Young, the lead agent in the 2019 investigation into Jeffrey Epstein.
The jury walked into court and sat in the jury box and the additional area reserved for the unvaccinated. None of them showed any visible emotion.
Judge Nathan was handed an envelope by one of the court staff and asked the foreperson if they had reached a verdict. She said in a clear voice that they had. The judge announced she was going to read it out and did so.
Judge Nathan asked if there was any reason why the jury should not be discharged and neither the prosecution or the defense said they had any, so they were released.
Judge Nathan thanked them for their ‘time and for your service’ and they walked out.
The judge asked if both parties wanted a pre-sentence report commissioned and they said yes.
The prosecution brought in pictures found in Epstein’s mansion in a bid to show that Maxwell and Epstein had been in a relationship
This photo of Jeffrey Epstein in front of one of his private planes was submitted into evidence during the trial of his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell
From the beginning of the trial that kicked off on November 29, Maxwell remained relaxed and confident, giving hugs to her lawyers or waving to her sister Isabel in the public gallery. She wore a series of turtleneck sweaters and was noticeably tactile with her attorneys, often putting her arm around them in a gesture they reciprocated.
Maxwell barely reacted when her accusers took the stand to testify of the horrific abuse at the hands of her and Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein’s pilots Larry Visoski and Dave Rodgers told the court that in the 30 years they flew Epstein on his private planes, including the Boeing 727 known as the ‘Lolita Express’, they never saw him engage in sexual activity of any kind. But both men said that the door to the passenger cabin was closed at all times.
In an eye-popping moment Visoski was asked if thought that the accuser called Jane was over 18 because he told the FBI she had ‘large breasts’. He appeared embarrassed and claimed she looked like a mature young woman.
Visoski confirmed that famous men like Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton flew while he was piloting Epstein’s planes, the first of a number of times that they were brought up. The accuser called Jane testified that she was introduced to Donald Trump by Epstein when she was 14 years old.
Visoski said that he recalled flying Kevin Spacey, Chris Tucker and Clinton on a trip to Africa in 2002. But overall there were fewer mentions of the powerful men than had been anticipated during the trial, with the focus staying on the four accusers.
Maxwell’s first accuser known by the pseudonym ‘Jane’ took the stand to testify that she was 14 years old when she first had ‘sexual contact’ with Jeffrey Epstein.
The woman said Ghislaine Maxwell was in the room during the alleged abuse. Wearing a gray wrap-around sweater, a black dress and black boots, she pushed back her jet black hair and took off her mask after the judge reassured her that the sketch artists could not draw her likeness.
She detailed to prosecutor Alison Moe how Epstein would have her ‘straddle his face’, ‘pinch his nipples’ and described the first sexual encounter that took place in 1994 when he took her into a pool house and ‘proceeded to masturbate on me.’
Jane said Epstein was talking to her about ‘what I wanted to do’ with her life and said that she had to choose between being an opera singer or an actress or a model. She recalled: ‘He said I know everybody, I know agents, photographers, I can make things happen but you have to be ready for it.
‘The conversation ended abruptly, we were in his office, and he said follow me’.
They went outside to the pool house and Epstein sat on a couch to the right hand side.
‘He pulled his pants down, he pulled me on top of himself and he proceeded to masturbate on me. Then he just got up and went into the bathroom and cleaned himself up and acted as if nothing had happened.’ she said.
‘I was frozen in fear. I had never seen a penis before let alone something like this. I was terrified and I felt gross. I felt ashamed’.
Despite this she continued spending time with Epstein and Maxwell and shortly after, she had her first sexual encounter with Maxwell.
Epstein and Maxwell were talking when ‘all of a sudden they said follow me’ and led her to Epstein’s bedroom in his Palm Beach home.
‘They came into the bedroom and took their clothes off. They started sort of fondling each other and kind of casually giggling,’ Jane said. ‘I was just standing there and he asked me to take my top off and then their hands [were] everywhere and Jeffrey proceeded to masturbate and Ghislaine was rubbing him and kissing him and fondling.’
Jane said Maxwell was ‘very casual’ about the encounter and acted ‘like this was entirely normal. I was confused. When you are 14 you have no idea what is going on.’
The prosecutor asked, ‘Did Maxwell touch your body?’
‘Yes,’ Jane replied, saying the sexual abuse happened ‘every time I visited his house’.
When asked if Epstein touched her, Jane replied, ‘Yes. Everywhere.’
The woman spoke in a strong, deep, voice that only faltered when she was describing in graphic detail the sex acts Epstein and Maxwell allegedly did to her.
Maxwell did not appear to react to any of the woman’s testimony, including when Jane pointed her out in court to identify her.
At the end of the first week of the prosecution’s case there was the most visually dramatic moment of the trial when one of Epstein’s massage tables was brought into court.
The exhibit, seized from his Palm Beach home in a raid in 2005, was a green leather foldout table that a detective brought into court and unfolded for the jury.
The table is the exact one that Epstein allegedly abused dozens of underage girls and the court fell silent as it was revealed. A few feet away Maxwell looked on while the jury appeared highly attentive.
Juan Alessi, Epstein’s former house manager in Palm Beach, was a vital witness for the prosecution.
He claimed that Maxwell helped book Epstein’s ‘massages’, asked him to drive them around and travelled on Epstein’s plane with them.
Alessi put Maxwell at the absolute center of Epstein’s alleged operation in the 1990s in Palm Beach.
In response to prosecution questions about who was involved, he repeatedly said the same words: ‘It was Ms Maxwell’.
Prosecutors produced a 58-page household manual covering every single aspect of running the house in Palm Beach that they indicated Maxwell had written.
There were dozens of checklists for each area of the house, instructions on when to replace the toothpaste and what brands of creams to buy.
But what caught the eye was an instruction to all household staff that was seized on by the prosecution: ‘You see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing’.
‘Kate,’ the second woman to claim she was abused by the couple was ruled to be a witness rather than an accuser by the judge.
Under questioning from the prosecution, Kate claimed on the sixth day of the trial that she was 17 when she was introduced to Maxwell by a boyfriend on a trip to Paris in 1994. Kate’s voice at times faltered but she spoke in a clear voice with a British accent as she described having sex with Epstein and giving him sexual massages.
Kate, wearing a black cardigan, a dark blue blouse with white polka dots and a black skirt, claimed Maxwell invited her to her London townhouse in the affluent area of Belgravia where Jeffrey Epstein was wearing a robe. Maxwell told her Epstein’s massage therapist had canceled and asked if she could fill in.
Kate claimed Epstein took off his robe to reveal his naked body and Maxwell handed her massage oil and closed the door. Kate said that Epstein initiated sexual contact with her.
After the massage, Kate claimed Maxwell asked, ‘How did it go? Did you have fun? You’re such a good girl.’
‘She sounded really pleased, and I was pleased that she was pleased,’ Kate said.
‘Later Maxwell told me to find someone to give Epstein a b***job,’ Kate claimed, and said Maxwell told her he needed to have sex ‘three times a day.’
As she sat in the witness box her blonde hair was swept back in a bun. She appeared nervous and before the hearing was sitting outside court with her eyes closed as she steadied herself.
Maxwell appeared impassive and mostly remained sitting back in her chair.
Before Kate began to give evidence Judge Alison Nathan told the jury that because she was over the age of consent at the time she is ‘not a victim’ of the alleged crimes.
Judge Nathan said that the jury cannot convict Maxwell based on Kate’s evidence and cannot use it for assessing Maxwell’s ‘character’.
The jury can only use it for things that are ‘relevant to the issues before you’, the judge said.
As a result of the ruling Kate was not asked the particulars of her encounters with Epstein.
Kate said that in 1994 when she was 17 she was living in Belgravia with her mother who was ill and ‘under a lot of stress’. She said she gave her mother massages to relieve her migraines.
Kate said she first met Maxwell in Paris on a trip with a man she was dating: at the time he was 38 and made the introduction as he knew Maxwell.
Kate said of Maxwell: ‘We spoke about the evening and where we were headed, we spoke about where I lived. We spoke about the man I was dating. She was asking me about myself’.
Kate said that Maxwell was ‘very sophisticated, very elegant and had quite short dark brown hair. She was very impressive’.
Kate estimated that Maxwell was in her early 30s at the time. Kate gave Maxwell her phone number and a few weeks later she called her.
Kate said: ‘I was quite excited to be friends with her and she was friends with the guy I was dating. She seemed very excited and she seemed to be everything I wanted to be’.
Kate said that she had a place to study law at Oxford University, which Maxwell told her she had attended. Kate said she was a musician as well and said she might pursue that and talked about how she was into athletics.
Kate said she had a ‘really lovely time’ during her meeting with Maxwell. She sighed as she said: ‘I felt really special. I felt I had found a connection that could be really meaningful to me…she seemed as excited as I was to have a new friend. I left feeling exhilarated. Like somebody wanted me. Somebody wanted to be my friend’.
Maxwell told Kate about Epstein and said that he was a ‘philanthropist who liked to help young people and that it would be really wonderful for me to meet him’.
Kate said that at the time in her life she was feeling ‘lonely’ and having just moved to the UK from France she ‘hadn’t found a group of friends’
A few weeks later Maxwell invited Kate back again to her home to meet Epstein. Kate said there was an ‘urgency’ in Maxwell’s voice and she sounded ‘activated’ as she said Epstein was in town.
Kate said: ‘She said she would love it if I could over and meet him.’
Four witnesses were asked if they had ever heard of Maxwell being pregnant – all four times raised by the defense.
Larry Visoski was the first who was questioned about it.
One of the photos of Maxwell and Epstein released by prosecutors shows them in the 1990s with Epstein putting his hand on her stomach as if she were pregnant.
The mystery was not resolved by the end of the trial.
Carolyn, one of Ghislaine Maxwell’s accusers, claimed she had seen a picture of her nude and pregnant. Though that picture was never introduced as evidence, another of Epstein cradling Maxwell’s belly was
Photographers are not allowed inside federal courts, so the public view of the trial came from sketch artists who were instructed not to depict the faces of the anonymous witnesses. Here ‘Carolyn’ is questioned during the trial
The court heard heartbreaking testimony of how Epstein abused accuser ‘Carolyn’ more than 100 times between the ages of 14 and 18.
Carolyn described how Maxwell once felt her breasts and said she had a ‘great body for Mr Epstein and his friends’.
Carolyn detailed how she came from a troubled background and the power difference between her and Epstein and Maxwell was shocking.
After a brutal cross examination at the hands of Maxwell’s lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuca, Carolyn broke down in tears during questioning from the prosecution.
Through tears Carolyn said of Maxwell: ‘Money will not ever fix what that woman did to me’.
In one of the most shocking moments from the trial, prosecutors introduced into evidence dozens of previously unseen photos of Maxwell and Epstein that were seized when the FBI raided his New York mansion in 2019.
They covered decades and showed them kissing each other and in various far flung locations.
One showed Maxwell sitting on a boat in a bikini, another showed them both smiling rapturously with some yachts in the background. The images were designed to show that they were a loving couple for many years, contrary to what the defense was claiming.
Maxwell’ s sister Isabel and brother Kevin were in court throughout the trial where they heard claims that she procured young girls for Jeffrey Epstein
The only accuser to give evidence under her real name, Annie Farmer, described how she was lured to Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico at the age of 16 with the promise there would be dozens of other bright students that he wanted to help.
Instead it was just her and Maxwell proceeded to massage her breasts before Epstein got into bed with her.
Summing up her experience, Farmer said: ‘I think this was all a pattern of them working on confusing my boundaries and malign me, question myself about what was right and what was not right with the ultimate goal of sexually abusing me’.
Farmer’s older sister Maria was the first person to report Epstein and Maxwell’s alleged sexual abuse of underage girls in 1996.
Farmer, now 42, described meeting the late pedophile in New York in 1995 when she was 16, and how he brought her to his ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she met Maxwell.
She described how the two lavished her with gifts and offered to help her academic endeavors, before subjecting her to unwanted fondling and cuddling instead.
Wearing a white and black patterned top, black pants, and shoulder length blonde hair on Friday, Farmer stared down Maxwell as she entered the court looking over to her left to eyeball the accused.
Farmer testified that she was living in Phoenix, Arizona, with her mother and younger sister. Her older sister Maria, who is nine years older than her, was living in New York and working for Epstein.
In December 1995 Farmer flew to New York on a trip paid for by Epstein because money was ‘tight’ in their house and they couldn’t afford it.
Epstein also paid for a ticket for Farmer and her sister to see the Broadway show The Phantom of the Opera.
Describing meeting Epstein at his home in New York, Farmer said: ‘He seemed very friendly and down to earth’.
Epstein was dressed ‘casually’ while the sisters were ‘dressed up because it was a big deal and we were excited about seeing the production’.
Farmer said that Epstein’s home, a nine story property that was the largest private residence in Manhattan was ‘very grand’, especially as Maria’s apartment where they were staying was only 500 square feet.
She said that Epstein ‘asked me about my plans for after high school’ and said she should consider applying to UCLA as he had ‘connections’ there who could help her.
Afterwards Epstein’s driver took them to see the play, Farmer said,
She said: ‘I was very excited. He was very friendly…he seemed very nice. I was excited and reassured’.
Farmer met Epstein for a second time on the same trip when she, Epstein and her sister went to see the film Five Monkeys.
Farmer said: ‘Initially when the lights went down we watched the movie and at some point he reached over and puts his hand on the arm rest between our seats and started to reach for my hand and caressed my hand, interlocking his hand with mine and holding my hand’.
Farmer testified that she was introduced to Epstein by her older sister, Maria Farmer, and he took them to see the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and then a movie in New York, where she sat next to the pedophile. At some point during the movie she said Epstein ‘caressed’ her hand and then her leg. ‘I felt sick to my stomach,’ she told the court.
Annie Farmer (pictured as a young girl) says she was introduced to Epstein and Maxwell when she was 16
Farmer said her legs were crossed and Epstein ‘was rubbing the bottom of my shoe and rubbing my foot and my leg’.
She said: ‘I was very surprised. It was very surprised and anxious. I felt sick to my stomach. It was not something I was expecting. I noticed that when he interacted with my sister he stop doing that. When he was looking forward again he would return to touching me’.
Farmer said she didn’t tell her sister because she was ‘very protective’ and she would have got ‘upset’. In addition she worried that Maria ‘could lose her job’.
The jury were shown an entry from Farmer’s diary from January 7, 1996 in which she said that ‘the best night’ of her trip was when she ‘went to Jeff Epstein’s house and had champagne’ followed by The Phantom of the Opera.
She wrote that Epstein seemed ‘down to earth’.
The jury was shown another diary entry from January 25, 1996 in which Farmer caught up on recent events, including more about her trip to New York.
She recounted the incident while watching the film and said it was ‘a little weird, one of those things that’s hard to explain’.
She wrote that Epstein reached for her hand and they were ‘holding hands’ and that he ‘rubbed my arm’.
Farmer wrote: ‘It gave me a weird feeling but it wasn’t that weird’, adding that it was ‘probably normal’.
Former Epstein girlfriend Eva Andersson Dubin she never saw Epstein acting inappropriately around teenage girls
One of the pictures brought in as evidence showed Epstein and Maxwell relaxing at Balmoral, the Scottish home of Queen Elizabeth. Her son, Prince Andrew, is one of the men who was said to have flown on Epstein’s plane
For the defense, Eva Andersson Dubin, who dated Epstein on and off from 1983 to 1991, testified that she stayed in touch with him after she married financier Glenn Dubin in 1994.
Andersson Dubin said that her three children had an ‘uncle like’ relationship with Epstein and called him ‘Uncle F’, which appeared to be short for Jeff.
Andersson Dubin said that she never saw Epstein acting inappropriately around teenage girls. Asked if she had ever taken part in an orgy with the accuser called Jane, she said: ‘Absolutely not’.
At the 11th hour Maxwell raised the prospect of calling Kevin Moran, the owner of the Nag’s Head pub in central London.
She even planned to fly him over from the UK to testify that she didn’t own a house over the road from his pub until 1997, undermining the claims by the accuser called Kate.
But after discussions with the judge, Moran was not called and the defense closed after just two days.
Ghislaine Maxwell confirmed that she would not be testifying in a dramatic moment on the final day of her defense.
Maxwell stood up with her hands held together as her lawyer Bobbi Sternheim put her arm around her. Speaking confidently in a cut glass English accent, Maxwell said: ‘Your honor, the government has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt so there is no reason to testify’.
It had been thought that Maxwell would follow in the footsteps of other high profile defendants like Kyle Rittenhouse and Elizabeth Holmes. Both gave evidence despite the risks and in Rittenhouse’s case it was seen as instrumental in clearing him of all charges.