The Ghislaine Maxwell Trial
The charges against Maxwell - and her legal strategy against her victims
We’ve followed the Jeffrey Epstein saga for years. Back before his arrest, we were the first to observe he was an informant for the FBI. We were the first to name the individuals at Main Justice in Washington, DC who supervised and approved Epstein’s 2007 plea deal. (Epstein’s lawyers would later name these DOJ supervisors in court.)
Now we’ll be focusing on the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, which is set to begin tomorrow, November 29.
To borrow a cliché, this is the beginning of the end. The date where a jury of her peers in the Southern District of New York will be presented with evidence of her guilt, her defenses, and ultimately decide her fate. The date where the US Government – the Department of Justice, the FBI, and unknown officials – have finally afforded Maxwell’s victims the right to have their voices heard.
The Charges against Ghislaine Maxwell
Maxwell faces the following charges:
Count One: Conspiracy to Entice Minors to Travel to Engage in Illegal Sex Acts.
Count Two: Enticement of a Minor to Travel to Engage in Illegal Sex Acts.
Count Three: Conspiracy to Transport Minors with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.
Count Four: Transportation of a Minor with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.
Count Five: Sex Trafficking Conspiracy.
Count Six: Sex Trafficking of a Minor.
Counts Seven and Eight: Perjury (stemming from allegedly false deposition testimony during a civil suit).
According to the 24-page superseding indictment, Maxwell was involved “in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein.” From approximately 1994 to 2004, Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18.” Some victims were as young as 14 years old.
The minor victims were groomed and/or abused at multiple locations, including Epstein’s Manhattan Property; Epstein’s Palm Beach Residence; Epstein’s New Mexico Ranch; and Maxwell’s personal residence in London. Epstein and Maxwell are alleged to have encouraged and enticed “one or more minor victims to engage in paid sex acts with Epstein” by scheduling “massage” appointments.
One victim was 14 years-old when Maxwell met her. Maxwell is accused to have groomed this victim by befriending her and then normalizing “inappropriate and abusive conduct.” During the massage sessions, it is alleged that “Maxwell and/or Minor Victim-1 would engage in sex acts with Epstein.” With respect to Minor Victim-2 and Minor Victim-3, Maxwell is said to have groomed them before introducing them to “massages” with Epstein. Minor Victim-4 suffered the same fate. Additionally, “both Epstein and Maxwell invited Minor Victim-4 to travel with Epstein and offered to assist Minor Victim-4 with obtaining a passport.”
Other Names that Might Appear During the Trial
There’s been a lot of talk about other names that might emerge during trial. Many of these names have already been public for quite some time. For example, there might be discussions of the involvement of Epstein’s female employees/“friends” who assisted him in his illegal sexual activities. These names were listed in Epstein’s 2007 non-prosecution agreement, which stated the U.S. Government would:
“not institute criminal charges against any potential co-conspirators of Epstein, including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova.”
Maxwell tried to get the charges dismissed based on the fact that she would be one of the “potential co-conspirators of Epstein.” These efforts, which we discussed here, ultimately failed. However, the filings allowed us to extract more information - namely, the discovery that some of the names of Epstein’s co-conspirators have not yet been identified:
OK Techno, so if the Epstein non-prosecution agreement does necessarily protect Epstein’s co-conspirators, will we see anyone else charged?
Maybe. As we have previously observed, the Epstein plea deal was unique in that it was favorable to the accused, executed in secret and kept from his victims and the public, and because it released from potential prosecution Epstein’s known and unknown co-conspirators.
We focuses on those “known and unknown co-conspirators” for a moment. In August 2020 the government informed the Court that their investigation into Epstein’s possible co-conspirators “remains active” and was before the grand jury:
Of course, then there’s former President Bill Clinton, who was alleged to be at Epstein’s island with Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, and “2 young girls.”
Whether Clinton’s name – or the names of other Epstein friends, such as Alan Dershowitz or Prince Andrew or Bill Richardson – will be revealed during trial is another matter. Do not be surprised if these names are not mentioned, as the scope of Maxwell’s alleged criminal conduct is alleged to four victims (we suspect there were many more) that don’t involve these men. The federal judge won’t allow it.
One name to watch out for, however, is Sarah Kellen. She’s in the Epstein plea deal, having been a regular on Epstein’s flights and was a leader in the operation to groom minor girls for Epstein. Kellen is alleged to have been involved in the alleged sexual abuse on Epstein’s airplanes by one victim:
No matter what, we can be certain that two of Maxwell’s alleged co-conspirators will be identified at trial. The Government has informed the Court that it intends to “introduce the alleged co-conspirator statements of only two individuals.”
We also observe that the Government will introduce testimony from a currently unknown Epstein employee to authenticate Epstein’s “black book” of names and numbers.
Maxwell’s Defense Strategy
Leading up to the trial, Maxwell’s attorneys sought documents from the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program. These documents were produced on Wednesday, November 24. (This in addition to the tens of thousands of pages of evidence the Government has produced to Maxwell and her lawyers.)
Why seek these documents? It gets to the heart of the defense strategy: Maxwell’s attorneys will allege that the victims have a financial motive to pursue criminal claims against Maxwell.
As Maxwell’s attorneys have informed the Court, “This trial will turn on the credibility of the individuals accusing Ms. Maxwell of these crimes”:
Will justice be done?
Ask the victims. The main perpetrator, Jeffrey Epstein, was given a sweetheart deal by state and federal authorities – until he killed himself (allegedly) awaiting trial. Maxwell’s co-conspirators haven’t been charged.
What questions are still unanswered?
The extent of Epstein’s relationship with the US Government. Vicky Ward of Rolling Stone was told that “Epstein’s dealings in the arms world in the 1980s had led him to work for multiple governments, including the Israelis.” Ward’s sources said that Epstein “was known in the intelligence world as a ‘hyper-fixer,’ somebody who can go between different cultures and networks.”
Jeffrey Epstein himself was alleged to have said he “worked for the government to recover stolen funds.”
What Epstein did for the US Government (and perhaps other governments) is the question the press ignores and the government doesn’t want answered. As we have previously discussed, this information is essential because these it would likely inform why Epstein was given a sweetheart deal approved by Main Justice in Washington, DC.