The ‘Partner In Crime:’ Ghislaine Maxwell’s Trial

Sara Paredes, Copy Editor

Ghislaine Maxwell — former girlfriend and confidant of notorious sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein — faced trial on Nov. 29. She is charged with three expansive charges of conspiracy, one charge of sex trafficking of a minor, one charge of enticing a minor to engage in illegal sex acts and one charge of transporting minors to engage in such acts. Maxwell faces up to 70 years in prison if found guilty of all alleged crimes. 

Maxwell, a British fixture of the New York social scene, is the woman who prosecutors say assisted Epstein in recruiting, grooming and sexually abusing young girls; however, the socialite’s lawyers say she is being made a “scapegoat for a man’s bad behavior.” 

At the beginning of Maxwell’s trial, the prosecution stated that Epstein and his companion lured in girls as young as 14  with money and gifts to engage in “massages,” leading sex abuse to be seen as “casual and normal.” 

The prosecutor made it clear to the jury of 12 that there should be no misunderstanding regarding whether Maxwell served as Epstein’s “puppet or accomplice.” 

With some of Epstein’s accusers present as government witnesses, Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to any wrongdoing. 

The weight of the trial lays in the hands of four women identified under pseudonyms or undisclosed names due to their status as minors during the time of the alleged crimes all of whom claim that Epstein sexually abused them with the help of Maxwell. Three have testified in the Federal District Court in Manhattan so far, and a fourth is expected to testify at a later date. 

Each of the three women stated in their testimonies that Epstein sexually abused them while they were teenagers and that Maxwell played a key role in facilitating the abuse, creating initial contact with Epstein and coordinating visits to his homes. 

Despite this, on Dec. 9 the jury was dismissed and trial put on temporary hold due to a lawyer’s sudden illness. Judge Alison J. Nathan told the court that one of the lawyers had fallen sick and needed medical attention, and the trial resumed on Dec. 10 after a daylong pause.