Ghislaine Maxwell's Sex Trafficking Conviction Upheld by N.Y. U.S. District Court


There are few names as infamous as that of disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Except perhaps one— that of his former girlfriend and co-sex trafficker, Ghislaine Maxwell. Epstein died in 2019 while in a Manhattan correctional facility. At that time, authorities had not been able to find Maxwell. However, in July 2020, after several months of evading service and capture, she was arrested and charged with multiple offenses. In December 2021, a jury found the former British socialite guilty of sex trafficking underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse. Not surprisingly, Maxwell’s defense immediately sought to overturn her conviction. In late April 2022, a New York U.S. District Court upheld Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking conviction.


The Maxwell Verdict


In December of 2021, after deliberating for five days, a federal jury found Maxwell guilty on five of six counts, including sex trafficking of a minor. The counts were as follows:

  • Count 1 – Guilty — Conspiracy to entice minors to engage in illegal sex acts
  • Count 2 – Not Guilty — Enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
  • Count 3 – Guilty — Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sex activity
  • Count 4 – Guilty — Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sex activity
  • Count 5 – Guilty — Sex trafficking conspiracy
  • Count 6 – Guilty — Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion

Maxwell was acquitted of Count 2, enticement of a minor to travel with intent to engage in illegal sexual acts.

During the trial, jurors heard evidence that involved Maxwell facilitating and engaging in sexual abuse with Epstein from 1994 to 2004. This included the testimony of four women who claimed Maxwell enticed them into engaging in sexual acts with Epstein. Two of the women testified that they were 14 years old when the offenses took place, and one woman alleged that Maxwell was present for and physically involved in some of the abuse.

The prosecution described Maxwell’s action with Epstein as a “pyramid scheme of abuse” wherein she recruited and groomed countless girls and young women to be sexually violated and exploited by Epstein and other rich and powerful individuals. Some accused of participating in the abuse include famous individuals such as Prince Andrew and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

Maxwell’s legal team immediately sought to have the court reject the verdict on insufficient evidence and other grounds. According to a recent report, upon review, U.S. District Court Judge Alison J. Nathan found that only three of the five counts should stand because two conspiracy counts were duplicates of the third. This reduced Maxwell’s maximum sentence by 10 years. However, Nathan was not persuaded that there was insufficient evidence to support the remaining counts. In her ruling, Nathan wrote, “This legal conclusion in no way calls into question the factual findings made by the jury. Rather, it underscores that the jury unanimously found — three times over — that the Defendant is guilty of conspiring with Epstein to entice, transport, and traffic underage girls for sexual abuse.”

In early April, Maxwell’s lawyers sought a retrial on the basis that one of the jurors failed to disclose his sexual abuse history. The lawyers contended that the juror’s discussion of his abuse could have impacted the verdict and that they were not provided with an opportunity to object to his presence on the jury. Judge Nathan also rejected this argument.

With the recent change to her conviction, Maxwell still faces anywhere from several years to several decades in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for late June 2022.

Contact an Experienced Sexual Abuse Injury Attorney

If you’ve been the victim of rape, sexual abuse, or other sexual violence, you want an experienced and compassionate sexual abuse injury attorney on your side. Bonina & Bonina, P.C. understand the importance of helping sexual violence survivors get the help they need for their trauma. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se Habla Español.