Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell palled around with presidents, movie stars and royalty, hosting household names aboard private jets and at palatial properties all over the world.
Those decades-long connections formed a key role in Ms Maxwell’s trial for sex-trafficking at the federal courthouse in Manhattan.
Ms Maxwell would frequently boast of her close friendships with Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Donald Trump, her accusers have testified.
Prosecutors say the access to powerful people was both alluring and intimidating – and victims of Epstein’s abuse would feel afraid to break off contact out of fear of what he and his powerful allies might do.
On 29 December, a jury found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty on five of the six charges against her.
She was found not guilty of one charge: enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
Maxwell could face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
- Count 1: Conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts - maximum sentence of five years
- Count 2: Enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts - maximum sentence of five years
- Count 3: Conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity - maximum sentence of five years
- Count 4: Transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity - maximum sentence of 10 years
- Count 5: Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors - maximum sentence of five years
- Count 6: Sex trafficking of minors - maximum sentence of 40 years
At Epstein’s Palm Beach estate in Florida, photographs of the late paedophile with Fidel Castro, Pope John Paul II adorned the walls, the trial heard.
Epstein visited the White House 17 times during Mr Clinton’s first term, the Daily Mail reported, and there were photos of him standing at the presidential podium on display at the Palm Beach property.
Ms Maxwell, the daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell, was a charming and vivacious networker who seemed to know everybody, accusers say.
A well-known figure in her native Britain, she opened doors for Epstein in the top echelons of royalty and aristocracy.
When the FBI raided Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse in 2019, they found a trove of photos of Ms Maxwell and Epstein on private jets, and in exotic locations across the world.
One image in particular stood out: Epstein and Ms Maxwell cozying up together in front of a log cabin at Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish estate.
The Daily Mail reported that Prince Andrew had hosted Epstein at Balmoral in mid-1999 along with an entourage that allegedly included young women.
One of the group told The Mail they had stayed in the 52-room castle before being entertained on the grounds of the 50,000 acre estate.
The pair attended Prince Andrew’s 40th birthday at Windsor Castle in 2000.
Epstein’s pilot of 25 years Larry Visoski told the court on the second day of Ms Maxwell’s trial he recalled Prince Andrew, Mr Clinton, Mr Trump, and Kevin Spacey being among the passengers on the so-called “Lolita Express”.
Mr Visoski also flying renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman to Michigan with Epstein for the Interlochen Center for the Arts summer camp. He said he remembered former Maine Senator George Mitchell and Ohio Senator John Glenn on flights.
None of the famous names mentioned by Mr Visoski are alleged to have done anything wrong in connection to Ms Maxwell’s trial.
Another of Epstein’s pilots David Rodgers testified in week two of the trial, and he was asked about Epstein’s connections to the science community.
Defence attorney Christian Everdell asked him if he recalled seeing former MIT professor Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in artificial intelligence who died in 2016.
Minsky was implicated in sex-trafficking allegations by Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, who said in a sworn deposition in 2019 that she was directed to have sex with him at Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
Mr Everdell also asked about Les Wexner, the billionaire founder of L Brands, who was an early mentor to Epstein.
Mr Rodgers recalled flying Epstein to meet the businessman in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1990s. He said that Epstein referred to Mr Wexner as a client, they seemed to be more like friends.
There is no suggestion Mr Wexner was involved in any wrongdoing.
Ms Maxwell’s second accuser, who testified under the pseudonym “Kate”, recalled how Ms Maxwell would often boast about her close ties to powerful celebrities.
“She seemed to know everybody and she told me she was friends with Prince Andrew, friends with Donald Trump, friends with lots of famous people and their names would sometimes just come up.”
The first accuser, who testified under the pseudonym Jane, said she also saw Epstein’s brother Mark Epstein on flights, along with Los Angeles-based celebrity chef Adam Perry Lang.
Another witness Juan Alessi, who managed Epstein’s Palm Beach property, testified that photos were on display showing Epstein with luminaries from the Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro to Pope John Paul II, who led the Catholic church until his death in 2005.
A spokesman for Mr Clinton said in 2019 that the former president only flew four times on Epstein’s private jet, and knew nothing about his “terrible crimes”.
Billionaire Glenn Dubin came into the trial when his wife Eva Andersson-Dubin, Epstein’s girlfriend of 11 years and former Miss Sweden, testified for Ms Maxwell’s defence.
Ms Andersson-Dubin testified about how her family regularly visited Epstein’s properties and her children affectionately referred to him as “Uncle F”.
She said she did not witness any troubling behaviour throughout the time she knew Epstein.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in