Ghislaine Maxwell Put on Trial for Grooming and Sexual Abuse

Emma Shanahan, Staff Writer

On Monday, November 29th, British socialite and companion to Jeffrey Epstein Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial started. She has been accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein groom and sexually abuse underage girls. Maxwell was charged with enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, conspiracy to transport minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, sex trafficking conspiracy, and sex trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion. If she is found guilty, Maxwell will face 70 years in prison.

Maxwell and Epstein had been close to each other since the 1990s when they were a couple. After they broke up, they still remained close friends and business partners. Maxwell managed Epstein’s properties for him. The prosecution states that Maxwell and Epstein worked together to traffic and abuse girls, some being as young as 14. Maxwell would find girls and convince them to come back with her to Epstein’s mansion. She would take the girls shopping and take an interest in their lives. Maxwell and Epstein would also promise to help these young girls achieve their dreams. This is considered “grooming” and is one of the charges brought against Maxwell. After luring the girls, Epstein would force the girls to give him sexual massages. The prosecution argues that these girls “were being sexually exploited and abused… a way for the defendant to ensure that Epstein, who demanded constant sexual gratification from young girls, remained satisfied.”

Maxwell’s defense has contended that she was a “scapegoat for a man who behaved badly”. At her pretrial hearing, Maxwell stated that she “has not committed any crimes.” Maxwell’s attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, argues that the accusers are just trying to make money. Sternheim says that “‘the accusers themselves were manipulated by everyone around them’” and were given financial compensation for cooperating with law enforcement. The first accuser to be questioned was a young woman who was 14 was Epstein started abusing her. She is now an actress. Sternheim and her team are trying to ruin the credibility of the witness because she is an actress and because she received $5 million from a compensation fund for Epstein’s victims. The defense also argues that the accusers had their memories altered and will have a psychologist testify on their behalf.