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Jury reaches decision in Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking trial

Jury finds Epstein’s ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell guilty on sex trafficking charges in a high-profile trial

Ghislaine Maxwell, a former confidant of sex trafficker and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, has been found guilty on five of six counts linked to helping the late financier groom and recruit teenage girls for abuse.

The British socialite was convicted on Wednesday, including on the most serious charge of trafficking a minor for sex, following six days of deliberation by the jury. She has yet to be sentenced, but initially faced up to 80 years in prison over the six counts.

Though Maxwell was found not guilty on a charge of enticing an individual under the age of 17, identified only as Jane, to travel with the intent to engage in sexual activity, she was convicted on a total of five sex crimes, each involving trafficking of underage girls or conspiring to do so, according to a verdict sheet obtained by journalist Adam Klasfeld.

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After the guilty verdict was read, Maxwell reportedly little emotion, seen pulling down her face mask and pouring a glass of water, according to Reuters.

The jury’s deliberations kicked off on December 20 and were briefly paused for Christmas. During that time, concerns were raised that the trial could be disrupted due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 through New York City. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Judge Alison Nathan warned that an “astronomical spike” in infections could even result in a mistrial should a large number of jurors fall ill.

At the same time, Nathan insisted that he was not trying to pressure the jury to reach the verdict faster, saying that they “should take all the time” they might need.

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FILE PHOTO. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and US financier Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell. © AFP / Handout / US District Court for the Southern District of New York
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During closing arguments last week, the prosecution said that Maxwell was Epstein’s “partner in crime” and a “sophisticated predator” who helped the notorious financier to recruit underage girls for sex. The prosecutors argued that Maxwell “made her own choices” and “knew exactly what she was doing.”

Epstein committed suicide in his New York City prison cell as he awaited trial for his own sex trafficking charges in 2019.

Maxwell’s defense, however, insisted she was not involved in the abuse and was being scapegoated for the wealthy financier’s actions, for which he was never tried or held accountable. 

“Epstein’s death left a gaping hole in the pursuit of justice for many of these women. [Maxwell is] filling that hole, and filling that empty chair,” defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim said in court.

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https://ift.tt/3Hl4daK 30, 2021 at 03:44AM
from RT – Daily news

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