Ghislaine Maxwell loses motion to throw out sex trafficking conviction

Lawyers had asked her to reject verdict on several grounds, including insufficient evidence

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A US judge concluded on Friday that there was enough evidence to convict British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell of trafficking girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse, but she also gave Maxwell a legal victory by concluding that three conspiracy counts charged the same crime and she can only be sentenced for one.

US District Judge Alison Nathan said in her written ruling that the jury’s guilty verdicts were “readily supported” by extensive witness and documentary evidence at a one-month trial that concluded in December.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell pose for a photo. AFP / US District Court for the Southern District of New York

Lawyers for Maxwell had asked her to reject the verdict on several grounds, including insufficient evidence.

Maxwell was convicted of recruiting teenage girls for Epstein to abuse from 1994 to 2004.

Ms Nathan said that she would only sentence Maxwell in late June on three of the five counts she was convicted on after concluding that two conspiracy counts were duplicates of the third.

Earlier this month, the judge refused to toss out Maxwell’s conviction after a juror disclosed to other jurors during deliberations that he had been sexually abused as a child, even though he had not revealed that fact in response to questions about prior sex abuse in a written questionnaire.

The juror had said he “skimmed way too fast” through the questionnaire and did not intentionally give the wrong answer to a question about sex abuse.

In refusing to toss the verdict, Ms Nathan said the juror’s failure to disclose his prior sexual abuse during the jury selection process was highly unfortunate, but not deliberate.

The judge also concluded the juror “harboured no bias towards the defendant and could serve as a fair and impartial juror".

Maxwell, arrested in July 2020, has remained incarcerated. Epstein was 66 when he took his own life in a federal jail cell in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.

Updated: April 29, 2022, 10:49 PM
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