Ghislaine Maxwell loses bid to overturn sex trafficking conviction

British socialite faces up to 55 years behind bars when sentenced in June

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Saturday 30 April 2022 04:48

Related video: Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty in sex trafficking trial

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has lost her bid to have her conviction for sex trafficking overturned and now faces a lengthy prison sentence.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted in December 2021 of helping recruit teenage girls for late financier Jeffrey Epstein to abuse and is set to recive decades behind bars when she is sentenced in June.

She was convicted of five federal charges in connection to her role in Epstein’s abuse of the teenagers between 1994 and 2004.

US circuit judge Alison Nathan ruled on Friday that three counts of the guilty verdict were supported by the testimony and evidence presented at Maxwell’s trial in Manhattan federal court.

But the judge did reject two of the guilty verdicts, reducing the maximum possible sentence Maxwell could face by 10 years to 55 years in prison.

Judge Nathan said three of the charges had covered the same offence and so she was only going to uphold one of them.

“This legal conclusion in no way calls into question the factual findings made by the jury,” the judge wrote in her 45-page ruling.

“Rather, it underscores that the jury unanimously found – three times over – that the defendant is guilty of conspiring with Epstein to entice, transport, and traffic underage girls for sexual abuse.”

Maxwell’s motion to overturn the verdicts was separate from her motion for a retrial, which the judge also denied.

That request was sparked by one of the trial jurors, Scotty David, revealing he had been sexually abused and had talked about his experience during the jury’s deliberations.

Mr David appeared in court in March to apologise to the judge, who earlier this month refused the request for a retrial.

During a five week trial, four women testified they were sexually abused by Epstein and Maxwell at his homes in New York, Palm Beach and New Mexico.

Prosecutors said Maxwell would act as the trusting, sisterly older female figure and lure them into Epstein’s orbit.

Maxwell enabled Epstein in his abuse and also participated in it on some occasions, they said, calling the former couple “partners in crime” in a “pyramid scheme of abuse”.

Epstein died in prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial for sex-trafficking offences. His death was ruled suicide by the medical examiner.

Reuters contributed to this report

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