British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of five counts in her sex-trafficking case, capping federal prosecutors’ push to bring the. confidante of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein to justice, reports the Wall Street Journal. After five days of deliberations, a jury in New York convicted Maxwell on Wednesday for what prosecutors said was her role in helping Epstein sexually abuse underage teens. A sentencing date hasn't been set. The most serious count carries a maximum of 40 years in prison. The trial outcome followed a yearslong effort to bring closure to scores of Epstein's accusers. His presence loomed over Maxwell’s three-week trial, during which federal prosecutors said she recruited and groomed teens for sex acts with him between 1994 and 2004, often under the pretext of procuring massages.
Four women provided graphic testimony about how Epstein sexually abused them at his properties while they were teenagers. They told the jury that Maxwell instructed them on how to give massages and, in some instances, touched their breasts or took part in the abuse. She also called them to arrange meetups with Epstein, accusers said. Maxwell, 60, denied any wrongdoing. Her lawyers said she was a scapegoat who wasn’t indicted until nearly a year after Epstein died by suicide in a federal jail. “A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable—facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. Maxwell, who was living in a quiet New Hampshire town when she was arrested, has been in jail since July 2020. She still faces a trial on two perjury charges for allegedly lying during a deposition. Educated at the University of Oxford, Maxwell speaks several languages and can pilot a helicopter.