The Full Picture

By Cole Petersen

The United States of America v. Ghislaine Maxwell may well be the trial of the decade. It follows the arrest and death of Epstein, further elucidating the abuse and sexual coercion of minors by Epstein and his associates. The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell contained much disturbing content,  and could quite possibly lead to additional trials and convictions down the road. 

By way of background, Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite, was born on December 25th, 1961. She was known to host parties and social activities for wealthy elites. Maxwell was previously seen with high profile figures such as Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Elon Musk, and a cabal of other actors and celebrity figures (although none of the name figures have been implicated in her criminal actions). She was always well known for her polite manners and attentive personality; however, of all the famous figures with whom she was associated, very few were as close to her as the financier Jeffery Epstein. 

Like Maxwell, Epstein had cultivated many connections to the famous and wealthy which made it expected for the two to be connected. Furthermore, they were well known for having an intimate relationship and Maxwell even went so far as to write in third person:  “On top of being great partners, they are also the best of friends”. Maxwell spent a great deal of time around Epstein, and they were often seen together in photos and in public. Thus, when Jeffery Epstein first came under police investigation in 2005, Ghislaine Maxwell, being his close confidant, came under immediate suspicion also. Later, in 2019, Epstein was investigated and arrested following an investigation into his suspected trafficking of underage girls, and Ghislaine also faced scrutiny as a result. Thus, after Epstein’s apparent suicide in prison, the criminal investigation focused more fully on Maxwell.

As a result of this investigation, on November 29th, 2021, Ghislaine Maxwell was charged with multiple criminal acts. The indictment against her, charges her with aiding the exploitation of the sexual abuse of multiple minor girls between 1994 and 1997, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity,  and with sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy, as well as general conspiracy charges. Beyond these crimes, Maxwell was additionally charged with two counts of perjury related to lying under oath, which is to be tried in a separate trial than the charges of sex-trafficking and on the sexual exploitation of minors. 

After four victims took the stand and testified about how Epstein and Maxwell groomed them at Epstein’s various properties, Ghislaine Maxwell was deemed guilty of 5 of the 6 charges against her, and was sentenced sixty-five years in prison, although her lawyers have told Reuters that they plan to appeal.

However, the verdict has been compromised almost immediately when one of the jurors gave a statement to the media that he was a victim of sexual abuse, and despite having initially lied about this during jury selection, he boasted how he had used this experience to convince the other jurors to credit the victim’s testimony. 

These comments have sparked concern among some that this juror may have unfairly influenced the trial. Maxwell’s lawyers told Reuters that she “deserves a new trial” as this could mean the jury was tainted by someone who arrived with an agenda to try to manipulate the verdict. District Judge Alison Nathan, who presided over the trial, told Maxwell’s lawyers that they had until January 19 to formally request a new trial and explain whether an inquiry is needed, with a response from prosecutors expected by February 2, and this trial may also be leveraged in a deal with prosecution to dismiss the perjury charges.

When hearing of Maxwell’s involvement in trafficking girls for Epstein, many are led to ask why, what would make someone do this? While we may never know, one recent BBC article by Jon Kelly has speculated that she found a similar character in Epstein as she did in her abusive father – in a kind of Freudian attraction. Maxwell faced neglect and physical and emotional abuse as a child, and while her sibling became estranged from their abusive father, Maxwell did not and instead tried to appease her father. Thus she supposedly found a similar purpose in Epstein and as such was willing to do what she did to appease him, as she did for her father. Ultimately, regardless of the reason, Maxwell’s actions are inexcusable, and her victims will forever have to live with Maxwell’s actions. 

Nonetheless, even as the United States waits with bated breath to see if a retrial will occur, or if we can rest easy, knowing justice is served, and although we may never know why, someone would or could do something so cruel, at least the courts have finally started to bring Jeffrey Epsteins Colleagues in sexual abuse to justice, and a new drama starts to unfold with Virginia Giuffre’s civil case against Prince Andrew.

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