Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of a British media mogul and the former companion to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was convicted on Wednesday of conspiring with him over a decade to recruit, groom and sexually abuse underage girls.
A federal jury in Manhattan found Ms. Maxwell, 60, guilty of sex trafficking and the four other charges against her. She was acquitted of one count of enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in an illegal sexual act.
The trial was widely seen as the courtroom reckoning that Mr. Epstein never had because he was found dead in a Manhattan jail August 2019 while awaiting his own trial.
Once expected to last up to six weeks, Ms. Maxwell’s trial moved quickly as the government pared its witness list and presented a case over 10 days that centered on four women who testified they had been abused by Mr. Epstein as teenagers. Two of the women testified that Mr. Epstein started engaging in sex acts with them when they were only 14 years old: one said Ms. Maxwell was sometimes present in the encounters and the other said Ms. Maxwell had molested her directly by touching her breasts.
The accusers depicted Ms. Maxwell, a former socialite, as a kind of mentor and big sister — a picture of elegance and sophistication, one recalled — who took them shopping and to the movies in what prosecutors said was a ploy to build trust. Then she played a key role normalizing sexualized massages with Mr. Epstein that, in some cases, led to years of sexual abuse.
“Ms. Maxwell was a sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing,” a prosecutor, Alison Moe, told the jury in closing arguments Monday. “She manipulated her victims and groomed them for sexual abuse.”