Ghislaine Maxwell, former girlfriend of convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, has been found guilty of sexual abuse and misconduct in a New York court.
Maxwell was found guilty of five of the six crimes for which she was tried. The counts were as follows:
- GUILTY: Conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
- GUILTY: Conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
- GUILTY: Transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
- GUILTY: Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison.
- GUILTY: Sex trafficking of minors, which carries a statutory maximum of 40 years in prison.
- NOT GUILTY: enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
Maxwell will be sentenced to between 40 and 65 years in federal prison. With federal crimes such as the ones she has been convicted of, there is no possibility of parole from a sentence. And she just turned 60 years old, so it’s probable that Maxwell will spend the rest of her life in prison.
I’m a royal blog, so why am I writing about the conviction of a British socialite for sex crimes? The answer, if you’ve been hiding under a rock, is that Maxwell is/was a close personal friend of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite son, Prince Andrew, The Duke of York. Prince Andrew has been embroiled in scandal surrounding convicted pedophile and sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein for well over a decade.
In November 2019, Prince Andrew was interviewed by Emily Maitlis of the BBC to try to distance himself from Epstein, who had recently died under mysterious circumstances in a New York jail cell while awaiting trial on additional sex crimes. Andrew’s self-defense during the BBC Newsnight interview was that he wasn’t actually great friends with Epstein; that he had only been connected to Epstein through Epstein’s girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. Which may have seemed like a plausible line of defense in 2019, but is a much trickier situation now that Maxwell has been found guilty of sex crimes against minors. And even trickier when there are these pictures:
So, with the context of today’s guilty verdict, this answer from Prince Andrew from the Newsnight interview, in which he tries to steer his closeness away from Epstein and toward Maxwell, seems particularly damning:
Maitlis: In 2006, in May, an arrest warrant was issued for Epstein for sexual assault of a minor.
Prince Andrew: Yes.
Maitlis: In July [of that year] he was invited to Windsor Castle to your daughter, Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday, why would you do that?
Prince Andrew: Because I was asking Ghislaine.
Just imagine thinking you’re a smooth operator because your line of defense is “I didn’t invite (known convicted sexual assaulter) Jeffrey Epstein to my daughter’s 18th birthday party, I invited his girlfriend, (now-convicted sexual assaulter), Ghislaine Maxwell, to my daughter’s 18th birthday party.” It beggars belief.
Virginia Giuffre, the woman who has alleged Prince Andrew of sexual assault and abuse and whose testimony led in part to Epstein’s 2019 arrest and Maxwell’s conviction, posted the following tweets after the verdicts were read this evening:
The second tweet in particular seems to be directed toward Prince Andrew in particular. Giuffre is currently suing Prince Andrew in a New York civil suit, alleging sexual assault and abuse and seeking millions in damages. And with Maxwell’s abuse of Guiffre now proven in a criminal court and Andrew’s connections to Maxwell so clearly laid out, I would think Andrew will be having a sleepless night at Royal Lodge tonight.
Here is my analysis of the situation:
- This is the absolute last thing Queen Elizabeth wanted or needed just six weeks away from the start of her Platinum Jubilee year. I think staff will BEG Her Majesty to keep Andrew as far away from the jubilee proceedings as possible. Let’s hope she listens.
- Additionally, I understand that he is Prince Philip’s son, but I don’t think Andrew should be allowed to attend the public thanksgiving/remembrance service scheduled to honour the life of Prince Philip next spring. I know that people will fight me on this point, and that’s fine. But the monarchy is a job and an institution, and this public service needs to be done in a way that will keep the shareholders (the taxpayers of the UK/members of Commonwealth countries) happy. Let Prince Andrew attend as many private services as he wants to. For the stability of the British monarchy, he should not be present at that service.
- I don’t see how Andrew can keep his HRH at this point. At the very least, Buckingham Palace should issue a memo saying that neither he nor the BRF will use it in the future. I personally think it should be stripped from him, but I’m not sure the Queen would agree to that, especially so close to her jubilee year.
- I also think Andrew should be asked (told) by the Queen that he is no longer able to rent Royal Lodge, his massive home on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Andrew pays a nominal rental fee and essentially is able to use the house as a grace and favour house. Just for optics alone, that should cease immediately.
- Sarah, Duchess of York also comes out (still) looking terrible through all of this. Remember: Jeffrey Epstein paid off loans for Sarah when she was hard up for cash.
Thanks for reading. And thank you specifically to Yankee Doodle on Twitter for your generous support!