Epstein allegedly paid the girls hundreds of dollars in cash for the massages, which involved sexual touching and which he expected three times a day. He died by suicide 28 months ago, while awaiting his own trial.
The jury found Maxwell guilty on five of six counts, including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking of an individual under 18. She was found not guilty of enticement of one individual under 17 with the intent to engage in illegal sexual activity.
“A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable, facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children,” said Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “The road to justice has been far too long, but today justice has been done.”
There was no visible reaction from Maxwell as the verdict was announced. She also did not make eye contact with her three siblings, who were seated at the front of the courtroom, as she was taken back to the holding cells.
Maxwell faces up to 65 years in prison. No sentencing date has been set.
“Today’s verdict is a towering victory, not just for the brave women who testified in this trial, but for the women around the world whose young and tender lives were diminished and damaged by the abhorrent actions of Ghislaine Maxwell,” said Sigrid McCawley, who along with David Boies represented one of the accusers who testified, Annie Farmer. “For too long their voices were ignored and discounted and their characters impugned and disgraced, but no more. I am in awe of their sacrifice, their courage and the strength they have shown in pursuit of justice.”
Farmer, in a statement, said she is “relieved and grateful that the jury recognized the pattern of predatory behavior that Maxwell engaged in for years,” adding the convicted abuser harmed “many more women than the few of us who had the chance to testify in the courtroom.”
Bobbi Sternheim, one of Maxwell’s lawyers, said, “We firmly believe in Ghislaine’s innocence. Obviously, we are very disappointed with the verdict. We have started the appeal tonight and believe Ghislaine will ultimately be vindicated.”
Epstein and Maxwell were a jet-setting power couple who hobnobbed years ago with, among others, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Great Britain’s Prince Andrew.
Allegations about orgies and sex parties with young girls, including on Epstein’s private Caribbean island, caused many prominent politicians, business leaders and celebrities to distance themselves, especially after a 2008 plea deal that resulted in a relatively light one-year jail sentence for Epstein.
A renewed investigation led to more serious federal sex-trafficking charges in 2019. And his suicide, weeks after his arrest on those charges, left accusers demanding that individuals who enabled their alleged abuse be held accountable.
Maxwell’s trial was viewed by both Epstein’s victims and outside experts as an opportunity for prosecutors to do so.
Jurors began deliberating late on Dec. 20, with a four-day halt over Christmas weekend, and reconvened Monday.
At trial, prosecutors argued that the teenagers, who were as young as 14 during their encounters with Epstein, expected Maxwell to be a buffer and chaperone between them and the much older multimillionaire.
Instead, Maxwell facilitated massage appointments and gave instructions on what Epstein liked, the now-grown women said. She also sometimes arranged their flights and other travel details when they visited his homes.