British socialite convicted in Epstein sex abuse case

·2 min read

NEW YORK — The British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted Wednesday of luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by the American millionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

The verdict capped a monthlong trial featuring sordid accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14, told by four women who described being abused as teens in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s palatial homes in Florida, New York and New Mexico.

Jurors deliberated for five full days before finding Maxwell guilty of five of six counts. With the maximum prison terms for each charge ranging from five to 40 years in prison, Maxwell faces the likelihood of years behind bars—an outcome long sought by women who spent years fighting in civil courts to hold her accountable for her role in recruiting and grooming Epstein’s teenage victims and sometimes joining in the sexual abuse.

As the verdict was read, Maxwell was largely stoic behind a black mask. Afterward, she could be seen pouring herself water as one of her attorneys patted her back. She stood with her hands folded as the jury filed out, and glanced at her siblings—faithfully in attendance each day of the trial—as she herself was led from the courtroom. She did not hug her lawyers on the way out, a marked change from previous days during which Maxwell and her team were often physically affectionate with one another.

One of her victims, Annie Farmer, said she was grateful the jury recognized Maxwell’s “pattern of predatory behavior.”

“She has caused hurt to many more women than the few of us who had the chance to testify in the courtroom,” she said in a prepared statement. “I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law. Even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse and exploit the young.” (AP)

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