BBC News:– A woman who gave key evidence in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial hopes the verdict will bring “solace” to other survivors.
“I am so relieved and grateful,” said Annie Farmer, the only witness to use her real name during her testimony.
“I hope this verdict… demonstrates that no one is above the law.”
Maxwell was found guilty of grooming underage girls to be abused by Jeffrey Epstein. Her lawyers say they will appeal against the verdict.
The 60-year-old was convicted on five of the six counts she faced, including the most serious charge – that of sex-trafficking a minor.
The verdict, which was reached after five full days of deliberation by a 12-person jury in New York, means the British socialite could spend the rest of her life behind bars.
“I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it,” Ms Farmer said. “Even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse and exploit the young.”
A lawyer representing a victim who used the name Jane as a pseudonym to protect her identity thanked the jury for recognising Maxwell’s “critical role in helping” Epstein, and praised the victims who had shared their experiences.
“The strong women survivors of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse can all sleep better tonight knowing that the justice system got it right,” Robert Glassman said.
Another lawyer who represents a number of Epstein accusers, Gloria Allred, told the BBC that the outcome sent a “message to other sex predators” who take advantage of vulnerable young women.
“Charges may be filed against you, you may be prosecuted and you may end up getting sentenced to prison for the rest of your life,” she said.
Virginia Giuffre, who is one of Maxwell and Epstein’s most prominent accusers, said she would “remember this day always”.
“Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell’s abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed,” she said.
Ms Giuffre has also previously alleged that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times. The Duke of York denies the allegations.
Wednesday’s verdict followed a month-long trial that featured testimony from four women who described being abused by Epstein between 1994 and 2004.
Maxwell showed no visible sign of emotion as the verdict was read out on Wednesday, only pouring herself a glass of water which she sipped from twice.
A date for her sentencing has not yet been set.
Maxwell, a long-time associate of convicted child sex offender Epstein, has been in jail since July 2020 when she was charged with involvement in the financier’s abuse of teenage girls. Some of the victims were as young as 14.
Epstein took his own life in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
A well-connected socialite, Maxwell is the youngest daughter of the disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell who died in 1991.
Soon after her father’s death, Maxwell left the UK to settle in America where she worked in real estate and eventually met Epstein.
The pair’s romantic relationship reportedly lasted only a few years, but she continued to work with him long after and is said to have introduced Epstein to wealthy and powerful figures including Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew.
During the trial, Maxwell’s lawyers repeatedly argued that she was a scapegoat for Epstein’s crimes. Prosecutors, meanwhile sought to link the duo as “partners in crime” who ran a “pyramid scheme of abuse”.
Prosecutors cited bank records showing she had received $30m (£22m) from Epstein between 1999 and 2007 as evidence she had been motivated by money.
All of the women who testified said they had been sexually abused by Epstein before they turned 18, and that Maxwell had urged, facilitated and even participated in the sexual encounters.
Headline photo: Annie Farmer testified against Maxwell (Getty Images)
(Read more at:- https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-59827051)