The sex-trafficking conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell may end up serving as a road map for future prosecutions against organizers of systemic sex abuse and as a symbolic triumph for the interests of sex-abuse victims, advocates and analysts told the Washington Post. Maxwell was found guilty Wednesday after a month-long trial on charges that she groomed and trafficked teenagers for her longtime boyfriend and employer, Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide while facing his own sex trafficking indictment in 2019. Maxwell was convicted of roping in girls as young as 14 over a roughly 10-year period between the mid-1990s and 2000s.
“This was really the first trial that we saw where a woman who facilitated and enabled a high-profile sexual predator was brought to justice,” said Moira Penza, a former federal prosecutor in New York who led the successful sex trafficking and racketeering prosecution against NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere. When high-powered male abusers have women like Maxwell at their side, “it really is a very disarming factor” to young victims, Penza said. David Boies, who represents several accusers of Epstein and Maxwell, including trial witness Annie Farmer, said the case “showed that the justice system is able to hold accountable people who make crimes possible — people who make a sex trafficking enterprise on the scope and scale and duration of the Epstein sex trafficking enterprise possible.” Boies represented Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre in lawsuits against Maxwell. Giuffre has claimed that she was peddled out for sex with people including Prince Andrew — an allegation the British royal adamantly denies. Shortly after Maxwell was convicted, BBC News brought lawyer Alan Dershowitz on the air to analyze the verdict but failed to disclose that Dershowitz not only previously served as Epstein’s attorney but that he is accused of having sex with Giuffre when she was as young as 16, an allegation Dershowitz has denied. The BBC said it is investigating the use of what it called an unsuitable and biased source, the Post reported. In his appearance, Dershowitz slammed Giuffre for supposedly not being a credible witness against Maxwell, claims that went unchallenged by the show's anchor.