Former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell – the 60-year-old ex-lover of dead billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein – has been found guilty of five of the six charges of trafficking and abusing underage girls.
Maxwell was found to have recruited and groomed four teenagers for Epstein to molest between 1994 and 2004.
After 40 hours of deliberations, the jury in a New York court in the US returned a guilty verdict for Maxwell on sex trafficking crimes.
Maxwell still denies the charges, but now faces life behind bars.
Epstein committed suicide while locked up in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 before he could face trial. He was 66.
Back in the days of debauchery at his upmarket Virgin Islands residence, Epstein counted former US president Bill Clinton and UK’s Prince Andrew among his bosom buddies.
Defence lawyers said they were disappointed with the guilty verdict as they Maxwell was being used as a scapegoat for Epstein.
Prosecutors said the verdict was a victory for the four women abused by Epstein when they were girls – one of them was only 14 at the time.
Late on Wednesday, US state attorney Damian Willians said: “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.”
However, lawyers for Ghislaine said they believe she was innocent and have already begun working on an appeal.