‘My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that,’ says Maxwell accuser Virginia Giuffre
Ghislaine Maxwell’s supporters and accusers have offered a wide range of reactions to her stunning five-count conviction on sex trafficking charges.
On Wednesday night, Maxwell was convicted of all but one of the six charges against her, all of them involving her alleged participation in sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of teenage girls. Maxwell now faces a potential sentence of up to 65 years in prison.
Virginia Giuffre, who has publicly accused Maxwell and Epstein of abusing her, was among the first to issue a statement on the verdicts.
“My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that,” Ms Giuffre tweeted. “I will remember this day always. Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell’s abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed.”
Ms Giuffre also said that Maxwell and Epstein “did not act alone,” and said she had “faith” that others would be prosecuted as well.
Meanwhile, Maxwell’s defeated lawyers spoke of their disappointment and vowed to appeal the case.
“We firmly believe in Ghislaine’s innocence,” defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim told a crowd of reporters. “Obviously we are very disappointed with the verdict. We have already started working on the appeal, and we are confident that she will be vindicated.”
US Attorney Damian Williams, in whose district the trial was held, took the opposite view.
“A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable – facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children,” Mr Williams said in a statement. “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.”
Mr Williams also thanked the women who came forward to accuse Maxwell.
“I want to commend the bravery of the girls – now grown women – who stepped out of the shadows and into the courtroom,” he said. “Their courage and willingness to face their abuser made this case, and today’s result, possible.”
The attorney Gloria Allred, who represents a number of Epstein’s accusers, echoed that sentiment as well.
“We’re very happy that justice was done today,” Ms Allred told CNN. “This case sends a message that anyone who conspires with a sexual predator to sex traffic underage girls will risk being prosecuted, convicted, and potentially being sent to many years in prison.”
Like Mr Williams, Ms Allred also praised the accusers who took part in the trial.
“I commend the courage of the victims who testified, and all those who were brave enough to cooperate with law enforcement by sharing and recounting what happened to them,” she said.