Epstein ‘girl recruiter' trial begins: Ghislaine Maxwell faces 80 years in prison

Epstein ‘girl recruiter’ trial begins: Ghislaine Maxwell faces 80 years in prison

Jeffrey Epstein can no longer appear in court, but the woman who, according to justice, helped him recruit girls for abuse has to answer to charges today.

According to US justice, Ghislaine Maxwell (59) has played an important role in years of abuse of underage girls by the late Jeffrey Epstein, wealthy businessman and friend of the rich and powerful of the earth.

Today, her trial begins with statements from prosecutors and her lawyers. The case revolves around four underage girls who were allegedly delivered to Epstein by Maxwell in the 1990s. The youngest was 14 years old. She also allegedly lied about it under oath. She could face up to 80 years in prison.

Maxwell is the daughter of a fraudulent British media mogul. In New York she was a well-known personality with many friends and connections. She was in a relationship with Epstein for a while and later kept track of his agenda as a confidant. She allegedly presented herself to his victims as a reliable friend who went shopping and to the cinema.


She lured girls into a ‘trap’ that she had set with Epstein, according to justice. Ultimately, she would have been present when Epstein performed sexual acts. Maxwell vehemently denies that. “I have committed no crimes,” she said in court this month.

Epstein faced 45 years in prison, but was found dead in his cell in 2019. He died by suicide, the coroner concluded. Prison staff should have kept a close eye on him due to suicide risk, but failed to do so.

Court drawing of Ghislaine Maxwell earlier this month. © Reuters

One of the big questions is what Maxwell has to say in court. She could clear up many mysteries surrounding Epstein’s abuse. How could he go on for so long? Which influential friends played a role? How did he get so rich? Did Epstein indeed have a collection of CCTV footage to extort prominent acquaintances, as victims have stated?

Those are questions that prosecutors in the Maxwell case will not address, according to insiders. “They’re not chasing Epstein’s money. If that’s what you want answers to, you’ll be very disappointed,” an anonymous source close to the case told Vanity Fair.

Maxwell himself does not seem to intend to clean up, but above all to question the credibility of the victims. She calls on witnesses who specialize in false memories of sexual abuse. A psychology professor, Elizabeth Loftus, also spoke about this in cases against other prominent sex offenders, such as film producer Harvey Weinstein. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison.


One of the most discussed pieces of evidence in the process is an address book with hundreds of names. It also contains contact details of powerful acquaintances of Epstein, including Prince Andrew, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and the wealthy founder of lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, Leslie Wexner.

Prosecutors have announced they will call witnesses to prove that the book was indeed Maxwell’s. They say the booklet contains “convincing evidence” that she knew that at least some girls were minors.

Epstein ‘girl recruiter’ trial begins: Ghislaine Maxwell faces 80 years in prison

Britain’s Prince Andrew. © AP

The woman who claims Epstein forced her to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre, is not part of this trial. She has labeled Maxwell as the “madam” who recruited girls for Epstein. But Giuffre’s testimony poses a risk to justice, because details in the story she made public were previously incorrect. She simply misremembered her age, she says. But lawyers could use that to exonerate Maxwell, experts believe.

Her defense team believes that justice is wrongly using Maxwell as Epstein’s deputy, now that he can no longer stand trial. Her brother and sisters sent a complaint to the UN. “It is as if Ghislaine Maxwell is suffering the consequences of the failure of the US authorities to keep Jeffrey Epstein alive and appear in the trial.”

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Epstein ‘girl recruiter’ trial begins: Ghislaine Maxwell faces 80 years in prison | show
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