• Maibort Petit

What's happened to Ghislaine Maxwell ?

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

At the beginning of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, the prosecution accuses Ghislaine Maxwell of pushing minors to have sex with Jeffrey Epstein. She declares herself a victim of the late mogul. The defense maintains that the crimes that are imputed to his client correspond to Epstein and not to her.

By Maibort Petit

Considered one of the most talked about and anticipated judicial events in recent times, this Monday, November 29, the first hearing of the trial against Ghislaine Maxwell was held, who arrives at the dock of the Manhattan court upon being singled out of recruiting minors for Jeffrey Epstein will sexually abuse them. This opportunity served to present the opening arguments, both by the prosecution and the defense. Thus, in her initial statement, the assistant district attorney for the Southern District of New York, Lara Pomerantz, pointed out that the woman took advantage of vulnerable young people, whom she manipulated and "pushed to be sexually abused" by the businessman.

drawing of Ghislaine Maxwell in court
Ghislaine Maxwell trial started in the Manhattan court

Meanwhile, Bobbi Sternheim, Maxwell's defense attorney, said the allegations against his client belong to Epstein.

They are "things that Jeffrey Epstein did, but she's not Epstein."

The government maintained that, on occasions, the defendant,

“herself was in the massage room, and sometimes she touched the bodies of the girls. Even when she was not present in the room, make no mistake: she knew exactly what Epstein was going to do with these girls after she brought them into the room. "

In this first hearing, the prosecutor Pomerantz told the jury that Ghislaine Maxwell asked the girls to undress to massage Epstein, an action that would be prior to the man's abuse of minors.

The hearing - which was delayed by mishaps with the jury - was held in a room packed with the public and journalists who gathered at the United States Court for the Southern District of New York presided over by Judge Alison Nathan. There it was possible to observe the accused, dressed in black pants and a beige sweater, a white mask, extremely nervous, a state of mind that was evident with the repeated exercise of putting on and taking off the glasses during the session.

The judge recommended to the jury made up of twelve people,

not "to reach any conclusion until they have all the evidence before them."


Of the accusations against him, Maxwell defends herself by declaring herself as one more victim of the tycoon convicted of sex trafficking, a statement that contradicts the statements of four women abused by him, who claimed that Maxwell was in charge of their recruitment, as well as deceiving them. and subject them to preparation before being handed over to the man to be abused when they were minors between 1994 and 2004.

photo of  Ghislaine Maxwell
Defendent Ghislaine Maxwell

The Justice Department maintains that Maxwell had full knowledge that the women she recruited were minors, specifying that one of them was only 14 years old. Such testimony contradicts what was said by the defense that, although it admits the recruitment of sexual masseurs, it denies that it knew that they were minors.

The supposed partnership between Epstein and Maxwell would have allowed the latter to constitute a whole network of sex trafficking of minors given to the enjoyment of the businessman. The first accusations against the socialite occurred in July 2020, when it was accused of incitement and conspiracy to incite minors to travel to participate in illegal sexual acts, transport and conspiracy to transport minors with the intention of participating in criminal sexual activities from 1994 to 1997. To this later, charges for sex trafficking were added, since it was said that Maxwell had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl on several occasions in the town of Palm Beach, Florida. There, he allegedly encouraged the minor to participate in the recruitment of other girls to carry out "sexualized massages"

If found guilty of the six charges by the jury, Maxwell could be sentenced to up to 70 years in prison, when it was found that, indeed, she ran a sex trafficking company in Manhattan and Palm Beach between 2002 and 2005. She allegedly left the network when Epstein was arrested in July 2019.

Court documents indicate that Maxwell allegedly earned the trust of the minors by inviting them to go shopping or taking them to the theater. While bonding she would then persuade the young women to massage Epstein in the nude. This would have occurred in the man's residences located in London, in Manhattan, Palm Beach and New Mexico.

The prosecutors' accusations state that Ghislaine Maxwell was directly involved in some of the abuses that Minor Victim 1 claims to have suffered. The latter says she met Maxwell at the age of 14 and claimed she was sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein on his properties in New York and Florida.

The defendant would have involved the girl in Epstein's "sexualized massages", allegedly would have undressed in front of the minor and would have witnessed when Minor Victim 1 undressed in front of the businessman.

Minor Victim 2 would have traveled to New Mexico in 1996 to Epstein's ranch, where he allegedly abused her. In this case, Maxwell would have prepared the girl with an unsolicited massage when she was half dressed. The defendant would have encouraged Minor Victim 2 to give Epstein a massage.

But on the instructions of Judge Nathan, the jury must bear in mind that it will not be able to convict Ghislaine Maxwell on the basis of the testimony of the sexual conduct between Epstein.

Minor Victim 3, a woman who at the time of the events was 17 years old, that is, an age above that established as consent, would be decisive to prove the charge of general conspiracy to attract minors to participate in illegal sexual conduct . This is because Maxwell would have befriended her and prepared her for her sexual encounter with Epstein in London.

Meanwhile, Child Victim 4 allegedly met Maxwell when she was 14 years old, the age at which she would have been recruited by the defendant to provide Epstein with sexualized massages in Palm Beach. This would have occurred between 2001 and 2004, and Minor Victim 4 would have received hundreds of dollars in cash as payment.

Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

She was born in Maisons-Laffitte, France, on December 25, 1961 and her first name is Ghislaine Noelle Marion Maxwell, educated at the University of Oxford, England, speaks several languages ​​and has British, American and French nationalities.

She is a socialite, a member of the British jet set, the youngest daughter of billionaire Robert Maxwell, on whose death in 1991, she moved to the United States, where she met and related to Jeffrey Epstein. Because she had cultivated upper-class friendships from a young age, it would have been she who introduced Epstein to her rich and powerful friends.

In principle, Maxwell and Epstein would have been romantically linked, but later this relationship was transformed to that of assistant and confidant. When the man was charged, he began to walk away from him.

The arrest

Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire on July 2, 2020, since which date she has been held in custody.

The arrest was carried out by the FBI, which broke down the door of a house located on 156 acres in Bradford, New Hampshire, where they arrived following the signal of his cell phone. The house would have been bought during Maxwell's two-hour trip a few months after Epstein's death in 2019. The deal would be done in cash through a company.

The truth is that a lot of conjecture has been woven about its address, placing it in various settings. But apparently his residence was in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, on the Boston waterfront.

With what, it was deduced, that she was in hiding, she was in constant view since press reviews about her were common in various places and situations. "She was not running from the police," her brother Ian said, but prosecutors say that between 2017 and 2020, she took "at least 15 international flights" to the UK, Japan and Qatar.

It is known that in 2016 she sold a townhouse at 116 East 65th Street in New York for about $ 15 million. It is a property registered in the name of a company.

The charges

Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts; Seduce a minor to travel and engage in illegal sexual acts; Conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; Transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; sex trafficking of minors; and sex trafficking conspiracy.

In addition, Maxwell faces two counts of perjury, as the government maintains that she lied under oath when previously consulted on matters related to Epstein. In total, there are eight federal charges, the trial court having decided to address the two perjury charges in a separate trial.

Four refusals of bail

On four occasions Ghislaine Maxwell has requested the benefit of bail - the last of them on November 9 - all of which have been denied, on the grounds that the defendant has multiple citizenships, including that of the United Kingdom, "a nation that does not seem to extradite its citizens. "

In his repeated attempts to get her bail, Maxwell offered to renounce her foreign citizenships and put her money under supervision, but the court has refused.

The judge in the case has argued for her refusal the "extraordinary ability to evade detection" that the defendant possesses, a reasoning that is based on the fact that her whereabouts were unknown for years, although she was essentially on view all the time.

It is good to note that the judge in the case, Alison Nathan, expressed her firm decision to keep the trial on track. Since her appointment in the case, she has issued a number of rulings, including allowing prosecutors to use the word "victim" when discussing Maxwell's accusers, as well as allowing those accusers to testify anonymously using pseudonyms.

In addition to her bail denials, Alison Nathan has dedicated herself to thoroughly reviewing each document submitted by both prosecutors and advocates. She allowed Maxwell to keep undisclosed "sensational" information contained in court documents and transcripts secret. It has also limited some of the wording proposed by prosecutors.

In guarded jail

So Ghislaine Maxwell, by virtue of the Court's refusals to grant her bail, has remained since her arrest and will continue to do so for at least the days of the trial, at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

There, she is permanently watched by the guards, who shine a flashlight on her to certify that she has not made the same decision as her colleague Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in the same prison on August 10, 2019.

Maxwell, through her lawyers, has denounced inhuman prison conditions, arguing that she cannot communicate adequately with her defenders and that she does not receive their mail promptly, in addition to the fact that the conditions of the place where she is located are discouraging, unsanitary and unsafe.

Key points of the case

On July 2, 2020, the United States Attorney's Office announced the dismissal of federal felony charges against Ghislaine Maxwell on charges of inciting a minor to engage in illegal sexual acts, transporting a minor to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy, and perjury. To this end, it was alleged that these crimes occurred in New York, Florida, New Mexico and the United Kingdom. The indictment and bond hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, July 14, 2020, in the court of Judge Alison J. Nathan.

On July 14, 2020, an impeachment hearing was held in which Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty to the replacement indictment. The judge, Alison J. Nathan, decided that the defendant should be jailed pending trial. The Court scheduled the start of the trial for July 12, 2021, as well as the deadlines for the presentation of evidence and motions by the lawyers.

On March 29, 2021, a grand jury issued a replacement indictment against Ghislaine Maxwell. An arraignment was scheduled for April 23, 2021. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit scheduled an oral argument for April 26, 2021 to address the defendant's appeal of the District Court order that denies bail.

On April 16, 2021, the Court ordered the perjury charges - charges eight and nine - of the replacement charge to be separated from the remaining charges - one to six - which will become part of a separate jury trial. .

On May 3, 2021, the Court adjourned the defendant's jury trial on counts one through six of the replacement indictment until November 29, 2021. No trial date has been set for counts eight and six. nine.

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