Ghislaine Maxwell’s Trial, So Far


Ghislaine Maxwell

A profile photo of Ghislaine Maxwell in August 2007.

Amara Whited, Print Copy Editor

TW: Topics of sexual assault, harassment, suicide, and abuse are discussed. 

On Monday, November 29, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell went on trial for her association with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in New York City. This trial may have the power to set the precedent for future trials of this nature.

According to AP News, Maxwell and Epstein were “partners in crime.” Epstein was arrested twice, once in 2005 for procuring a child for prostitution, and once in 2019 for sex trafficking. Prosecutors suggest that Maxwell knew of Epstein’s activities the entire time, and was an accomplice rather than someone forced into the crimes. Maxwell, being a female, may have been a more trusting face for the girls that were abused with Epstein. Prosecutors suggest that Maxwell took on an almost motherly role to make the girls comfortable with her and Epstein.

During the trial, Maxwell’s lawyers, Jeffery Pagliuca and Laura Menninger, suggested that the accusers have “shaken the money tree, and millions of dollars have fallen their way.”

Maxwell’s lawyers also say that she is not like Epstein and is rather a scapegoat for Epstein’s actions like so many other women have been in history. Maxwell has repeatedly pleaded not guilty to any of the charges.

“[The charges are] absolute rubbish,” Maxwell said in an interview.

Maxwell’s family and lawyers claim she was a pawn of Epstein and is paying an unjust price. According to AP News, Ian Maxwell, her brother, claims the trial is “the most overhyped trial of the century without a doubt.”

According to the New York Post on December 1, an anonymous accuser, Jane, claims she was introduced to former President Donald Trump at age 14 and met Prince Andrew on a flight, both with Epstein. Jane also recalls specific events of sexual abuse from Maxwell and Epstein alone. When asked about a 2.9 million victim compensation fund, Jane’s composure broke.

“‘I wish I would have never received that money in the first place because of what happened,” the accuser responded. “In this country, compensation is the only thing you could get when you try to move on with your life and the pain and abuse and suffering I received and try to fix myself.” 

According to The Guardian on December 3, Epstein displayed a sexually suggestive photo of a young girl outside his bedroom. The images were discovered in a search of Epstein’s multiple homes. Maxwell shared these bedrooms with Epstein frequently. This has implications about what Maxwell was willing to tolerate and possibly do, in contradiction to what she claims.

According to CNN on December 7, an accuser “Carolyn” says Maxwell touched her body inappropriately and said she “had a great body for Epstein and his friends.” Each time Carolyn came to Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, something sexual would happen. At the time, Carolyn was only 14.

As of December 7, Maxwell has been denied bail. She is charged with one count of enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal sex acts, one count of sex trafficking a minor, and three counts of conspiracy, all related to previous charges.

When Maxwell was arrested in July of 2020, she was then charged with two counts of perjury. These charges will be tried separately from the current trial.

Maxwell is the wealthy daughter of Robert Maxwell, a British newspaper mogul. Robert Maxwell died in 1991 after falling off of his yacht. At the time, Robert was facing allegations of taking his business’ pension funds illegally. Maxwell immigrated to the United States in 1991 after the death of her father, maintained on a Liechtenstein trust fund of £80,000 per year (equal to about $100,000 USD per year).

Epstein was a financier from Brooklyn, New York. He began his professional career as a teacher at Dalton School in Manhattan, New York City, despite never earning a degree to do so. After teaching, Epstein began working at Bear Stearns economic firm and then going on to make his own firm. He developed a lavish and elite social life and gathered a large group of associates and friends. Many of which, including Epstein, would sexually abuse women and children they procured. After being arrested in July of 2019, Epstein committed suicide in his jail cell, thus avoiding all criminal charges. Epstein’s charges were dismissed in August of 2019.

Epstein was, according to The Guardian, associated with former President Donald Trump, businessman Leslie Wexner, former president Bill Clinton, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Prince Andrew.