Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by American millionaire Jeffrey Epstein - and now faces decades behind bars.
But despite the fate that awaits her, her reaction to the verdict was surprising.
It ends a month-long trial that featured sordid accounts of the exploitation of girls as young as 14, in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s sprawling homes in Florida, New York and New Mexico.
Jurors mulled over the case for five days before finding her guilty on five of six counts, after the judge said they’d have to deliberate through New Years Eve if a verdict could not be reached.
Specifically, the British socialite was found guilty of conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, and sex trafficking of minors.
In all, the five guilty charges could carry a combined sentence of up to 65 years in prison.
I was in the courtroom as Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on five counts carrying a potential 65-year prison sen… https://t.co/jcpw8p2CHx— Molly Crane-Newman (@Molly Crane-Newman) 1640816486
Rather than breaking down in tears, or looking shocked, she was “largely stoic” behind a black mask and then poured herself a glass of water as attorneys patted her back.
She then glanced at her siblings as the jury filed out, before she was led from the courtroom.
Unlike previous days when they showed affection to each other, she did not hug her lawyers on the way out.
No sentencing date has been set.
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As the verdict was returned she poured a glass of water, hugged her legal teams and left for the cell and her retur… https://t.co/0p6AR38jhn— Emma Murphy (@Emma Murphy) 1640821474
Her defence had argued that she was the victim of a vindictive prosecution, that made her a scapegoat after Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial in 2019.
The jury heard from 24 prosecution witnesses who described life inside Epstein’s homes — which has been a subject of fascination and speculation since his 2006 arrest in Florida in a child sex case.
US Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York, where the trial was held, praised the verdict in a statement.
“A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable – facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children,” Mr Williams said. “Crimes that she committed with her long-time partner and co-conspirator, Jeffrey Epstein. The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done.”
The trial featured some eye-opening moments, such as when Donald Trump was named as a passenger on Epstein’s jet, sparking a Twitter furore.
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