Lauren Moye, FISM NEWS
Ghislaine Maxwell is a 59-year-old British socialite who previously dined with the elite in both the U.K. and the U.S. Yet as her sex trafficking trial begins today, twelve jurors and their six potential alternates will be asked to answer if she was an unsuspecting pawn for a sexual predator or a willing child trafficker?
Maxwell, self-identified as both an employee who managed personnel between different homes for Jeffery Epstein as well as a romantic partner of the billionaire criminal, was arrested by the FBI on July 2, 2020. She was charged by Manhattan federal prosecutors with four counts of procuring and transporting three underage victims for sexual activities and two counts of perjury.
Maxwell has also been accused of grooming the girls to normalize sexual abuse for Epstein by first winning their trust through showing an interest in their lives, taking them shopping, or taking them to the movies. FISM reported that she would then groom them for future sexual abuse “by discussing sexual topics or by undressing in front of them or being present when they were undressed.”
These alleged acts occurred in various Epstein-owned properties in New York, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Florida as well as in Maxwell’s London home.
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said at the time: “Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend, and groom minor victims for abuse. In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse herself.”
New charges were filed regarding a fourth victim, only 14-years-old at the time of alleged abuse, on March 29, 2021. Maxwell faces a total of eight charges and a potential prison sentence of up to 80 years if convicted. She has pled not guilty on all accounts.
When asked by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, the presiding judge over her case, if she agreed with her attorney’s statement, Maxwell reiterated, “I have committed no crime.”
This is consistent with her previous statements regarding Epstein’s illegal sexual activities. She also denied knowledge and participation in his crimes during a 2016 civil defamation case filed against her by Virginia Giuffre, who was also one of Epstein’s accusers.
Epstein was arrested in July 2019. However, before he went to trial, he was found hung in his prison cell on Aug. 10 of that year. Maxwell’s attorney has argued that federal prosecutors are using her as a scapegoat for Epstein’s crime. Her family has also alleged that she was an innocent pawn for Epstein and is now paying “a blood price” to appease the public.
However, Annie Farmer, who claims to also be a former victim of Maxwell, has said that this innocent façade is false. Farmer claims that at age 16, she was tricked into visiting Epstein’s New Mexico ranch. Once there, Maxwell attempted to win her trust and attempted to massage Farmer while the girl was topless.
Farmer wrote to the court, “I do not believe that … any of the women [Maxwell] exploited will see justice if she is released on bail. She has lived a life of privilege, abusing her position of power to live beyond the rules. Fleeing the country in order to escape once more would fit with her long history of anti-social behavior.”
Nathan ultimately denied Maxwell’s request for bail.
The trial is expected to last around six weeks before a verdict is delivered.
Opening statements were delayed on Monday due to issues with the jury.