Show caption Ghislaine Maxwell at the UN headquarters in 2013. Photograph: Rick Bajornas/AP Ghislaine Maxwell What was Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of and what happens next? Maxwell was found guilty of five out of six charges – now she faces up to 65 years in prison Maya Yang Thu 30 Dec 2021 14.56 GMT Share on Facebook
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Former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell on Wednesday was convicted of recruiting and grooming teenage girls for sexual encounters with the disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein between 1994 and 2004.
Maxwell was arrested last July and was charged with involvement in ex-boyfriend Epstein’s sexual abuse of teenage girls, some as young as 14.
Below is an explanation of what comes next for Maxwell, the youngest child of the late British media baron Robert Maxwell:
What was Maxwell charged with?
Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of five out of the six charges in her trial, including sex trafficking a minor. The jury came down with its verdict after about 40 hours of deliberation. Jurors did not find Maxwell guilty of one account: enticement of an individual under the age of 17 to travel with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity.
When will Maxwell be sentenced?
Maxwell’s sex trafficking charge is the most serious one she faced, with a maximum prison term of 40 years. In total, Maxwell faces up to 65 years in prison when sentenced. At 60, it is likely she will spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Judge Alison Nathan did not say when Maxwell would be sentenced. She also separately faces two perjury counts that will be tried at a later date.
Sarah Krissoff, a former prosecutor with the southern district of New York, told the BBC she expects “a very significant prison sentence” for Maxwell. “Given the involvement of minors, the judge has really great discretion to impose a significant sentence, and based on the evidence that was presented at trial, frankly, I expect the judge to impose a very severe sentence upon her.”
Will Maxwell appeal?
Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim told reporters the defense was disappointed with the verdict and will appeal. “We have already started working on the appeal, and we are confident that she will be vindicated,” Sternheim said outside of the courthouse.
While the judge dealt several blows to the defense – ruling, for example, that their witnesses could not testify anonymously as some of Maxwell’s accusers did – legal experts said Maxwell would struggle to overturn a guilty verdict.
To succeed, her lawyers would have to show that the judge violated federal rules of evidence or abused her discretion, and that the error impacted the verdict.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the Maxwell family said it would support the socialite’s efforts to appeal her conviction. “We believe firmly in our sister’s innocence. We are very disappointed with the verdict,” read the family statement. “We have already started the appeal tonight, and we believe she will ultimately be vindicated.”
What charges does she still face?
The two perjury counts relate to allegations that Maxwell lied under oath about her role in Epstein’s abuse during a deposition for a separate civil suit in 2016. Nathan in April granted Maxwell’s request to sever the two charges from the rest of the counts.
The two perjury counts each carry a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Where will Maxwell go now?
Maxwell will return to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan detention center, where she has been held in isolation since July 2020. Maxwell has said she has been served moldy food at the jail and that the smell of raw sewage has permeated her cell.
Maxwell has also been subjected to water deprivation, “hyper-surveillance” by overbearing guards and other unacceptable treatment in jail, according to her lawyers.
Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse issues is available from the following organisations. In the US, Rainn offers support on 800-656-4673. In the UK, Rape Crisis offers support on 0808 802 9999. In Australia, support is available at 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html