What We Know About Ghislaine Maxwell's Guilty Verdict

The verdict in the Ghislaine Maxwell case brought to a close another major chapter in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. A jury found Maxwell guilty of five out of six charges, including sex trafficking of a minor and transporting a minor with the intent of sexual abuse. Maxwell's crimes were related to the sex trafficking and abuse case of Epstein, with whom she was once romantically involved (via CNN). 

During the trial, four women appeared as key witnesses. Identified only by first names, they testified that they had met Maxwell when they were teens, two only 14 years old at the time. Maxwell was accused of grooming them for abuse by earning their trust. Then, the women claimed she facilitated meetings with the powerful financier Epstein that turned into sexual encounters. 

Epstein himself had already served 13 months of a work release sentence for molesting a minor. He was arrested on the more widespread sex trafficking charges in 2019, but never stood trial. That same year, Epstein died by suicide in his jail cell. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Ghislaine Maxwell could spend the rest of her life behind bars

Ghislaine Maxwell has at least one person in her corner — her brother Ian Maxwell. Speaking previously to the Associated Press, Ian described the trial as the "most over-hyped" of the century, adding that he believes the authorities are "desperate to blame someone for the late financier's crimes."

Maxwell's accusers, however, told a different story in court. Their testimony included descriptions of sexual encounters between the alleged victims, Epstein, and even Maxwell herself, that often began as massages. Meanwhle, another witness also testified that Maxwell would pay her hundreds of dollars after some of the encounters with Epstein (via Reuters). 

After the prosecution and defense rested, the jury took almost six days to deliberate before returning with their verdict. The most serious charge — sex trafficking of a minor — carries a maximum prison sentence of 40 years. The other four charges could tack on an additional 15 years, making it likely that the 60-year-old Maxwell will spend the rest of her life in prison, Newsweek reported. 

Following the jury's verdict, one of Maxwell's accusers said in a statement, "I am so relieved and grateful that the jury recognized the pattern of predatory behavior that Maxwell engaged in for years and found her guilty of these crimes" (via Reuters).