Lawyers reacted to the news British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty by a U.S. jury on Wednesday of helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.
U.S. ATTORNEY DAMIAN WILLIAMS IN MANHATTAN
“A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable – facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children. Crimes that she committed with her long-time partner and co-conspirator, Jeffrey Epstein. The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done. I want to commend the bravery of the girls – now grown women – who stepped out of the shadows and into the courtroom. Their courage and willingness to face their abuser made this case, and today’s result, possible.”
ROBERT GLASSMAN, LAWYER, PANISH SHEA BOYLE RAVIPUDI LLP, LOS ANGELES (REPRESENTED “JANE,” ONE OF MAXWELL’S ACCUSERS WHO TESTIFIED AT HER TRIAL)
“The verdict screams loud and clear–if you make it easier for another to sexually abuse children, you, too, will be held accountable for your role in that abuse…. The strong women survivors of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse can all sleep better tonight knowing that the justice system got it right…. The jury stayed focused on what really mattered: Ms. Maxwell played a critical role in helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse girls.”
CARL TOBIAS, WILLIAMS PROFESSOR OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND SCHOOL OF LAW, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
“I am not surprised that the jury took so much time. This was a very high-profile case in which both sides were extremely well prepared and made strong cases. Another explanation may be that the jury was being conscientious.
“I think Maxwell will appeal, as she said she was not testifying because the U.S. had not proven its case. She would have to show some error in the way the case was tried or some jury misconduct, both of which will be difficult to show. From a distance, it seemed like the victims were brave, sympathetic witnesses, who were providing credible testimony about awful behavior.”
JESSE GESSIN, LAWYER, GESSIN TRIAL COUNSEL LTD, SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA
“The verdict is quite shocking, given the government’s performance at trial. Witnesses were unprepared, and some of the more iconic names associated with Maxwell were not presented at trial. In the end, it could have been that the nature of the allegations was just too much for the jury. I would expect any appeal to focus on jury instructions as opposed to specific evidentiary rulings.”