Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison

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The long road to justice for Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s victims resulted in U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan sentencing British socialite Maxwell, 60, to 20 years in prison, and fined $750,000.  

“I am sorry for the pain that you experienced. I hope my conviction and harsh incarceration brings you closure,” said Maxwell in court..

Maxwell was found guilty in December 2021 after a month’s long trial in federal court in New York on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.  Four women testified that they were abused in their teens. One was an aspiring musician when Epstein and Maxwell first met her at a summer camp. Another was a British model who fell for Maxwell’s charm in London. A third was a young girl who dropped out of middle school. The fourth was a high school student. Their testimonies were powerful, harrowing and painful. 

The jury found Maxwell a sexual predator and procurer of young girls as young as 14 years of age, with the late Jeffrey Epstein, who died in jail in August 2019, awaiting trial. 

Prosecutors claimed that Maxwell deserved 30 to 55 years in prison. 

“Maxwell’s conduct was shockingly predatory. She was a calculating, sophisticated, and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and groomed them for sexual abuse,” wrote the prosecutors in a court filing prior to sentencing.  

Probation officials recommended a 20-year sentence, but claimed her conviction could call for 25 to 30 years.

Her lawyers said probation officials calculated the guidelines improperly. 

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Maxwell’s lawyers asked the court to impose a sentence of no more than five years. 

In a court submission filed before the sentencing, Maxwell’s lawyers asserted that she deserved leniency, calling it “a travesty of justice for her to face a sentence that would have been appropriate for Epstein.” 

“Epstein was the mastermind, Epstein was the principal abuser, and Epstein orchestrated the crimes for his personal gratification,” the lawyers wrote. “Indeed, had Ghislaine Maxwell never had the profound misfortune of meeting Jeffrey Epstein over 30 years ago, she would not be here.”

Seven women submitted victims’ statements to the court. Two of those who testified in court asked to address the court during the sentencing hearing. 

They includes the British model, who used the pseudonym, Kate, during the trial, and Annie Farmer, who was a high school student who was sexually abused by both Maxwell and Epstein. 

Judges take into consideration the punitive nature of the crimes, especially when they involve enticing and grooming children for sexual abuse, and the victims’ impact statements. Pre-sentencing investigative report are taken into great consideration. In this particular case, the duration of the crimes would come under consideration. 

“Today’s sentence holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said, according to the Department of Justice. “This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice.  We again express our gratitude to Epstein and Maxwell’s victims for their courage in coming forward, in testifying at trial, and in sharing their stories as part of today’s sentencing.”

After the sentencing hearing, Maxwell’s attorneys on the courthouse steps vowed to appeal the sentencing claiming it was harsh. 

Ghislaine Maxwell’s Conviction Hangs On A Juror For Possible Mistrial

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Juror No. 50, who served on Ghislaine Maxwell’s jury, which decided her December 29 guilty verdict on five of six counts for sex trafficking of a minor, appeared in court on March 8. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment. 

Judge Alison J. Nathan, who presided over Maxwell's criminal case, granted Juror No. 50 immunity, but not if he committed perjury, and instructed him to answer “truthfully.” 

Juror No. 50 admitted in court he was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and admitted to sharing that information with his fellow jurors during Maxwell's jury deliberations. 

Following the verdict, Juror No. 50 also shared that information publicly in an interview. When that revelation became known, Maxwell’s attorney jumped on whether Juror No. 50 answered the potential juror questionnaire truthfully. It included a question if any of the potential jurors were victims of sex abuse or had family or friends who were victims of sex abuse. 

Juror No. 50 answered, “No,” on the questionnaire.  

“Is ′no′ an accurate answer to that question?” Nathan asked Juror No. 50.

“No, it is not,” Juror No. 50 replied and said the accurate answer is “yes.”

Juror No. 50 repeatedly cited the reasons for his incorrect answer.

First, he claimed he was distracted while filling out the questionnaire in November before he was selected for jury duty.

“At this point, I was super distracted,” Juror No. 50 said and described how he was sitting at the table where other potential jurors were putting their completed paperwork and asking questions.

Second, he felt rushed. 

“I felt rushed only because of all the commotion going on in front of me,” he said.

And, he was impressed by the “sheer volume” of potential jurors.

“I never thought I’d be one of the 12,” he said.

The third reason was that he did not consider himself a victim and overlooked the different boxes on the form that included - “self” and “family and friends.” 

Juror No. 50 admitted that he was remorseful calling it “one of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my life,” and that he did not intend to give false information.  

“I skimmed. I didn’t read everything,” he said and described the questionnaire as “a pretty thick packet.”

Juror No. 50 also said several times that he was capable of being a fair and impartial juror.

Judge Nathan ruled that both sets of attorneys have until March 15 to file briefs regarding these revelations. 

It is expected that Maxwell’s attorney will file for a mistrial. 

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Big Question After Maxwell’s Sex Trafficking Conviction: Who’s Next?

Ghislaine Maxwell’s Prosecution Rests - Hold Your Hats On Her Defense

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Federal prosecutors finally got a jury to declare that the late Jeffrey Epstein, a Tier 3 registered sex offender, ran an international sex trafficking operation with his enabling gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell.

And now a big question lingers in the world of sex trafficking accountability: Who's next?

“Satisfaction with Maxwell’s conviction is tempered by the knowledge that other co-conspirators have yet to be held responsible for their involvement in Jeffrey Epstein’s extraordinary criminal enterprise,” former prosecutor Jack Scarola said Wednesday after the Maxwell verdict.

Epstein died in jail in August 2019 awaiting his trial on sex trafficking charges. And Maxwell, 60, may very well spend the rest of her life there, after being convicted Wednesday on five of six charges of sex trafficking minors who were abused as young as 14. 

After his death, Epstein’s estate established a victims’ compensation fund, which doled out more than $120 million to approximately 150 victims, and closed in early 2020. The fund issued payments from low-six figures to more than $1 million. The fund received approximately 225 applicants. 

Scarola, who has assisted several victims of sex trafficking in his private practice, represented one of the four Maxwell accusers at her trial, a woman who used her first name Carolyn when testifying.

“The conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell is a welcome confirmation of the veracity of the charges brought against her on behalf of the very brave young women whom she directly participated in abusing,” Scarola told Just the News.

The lawyer offered foreboding message to other "co-conspirators" in the sex-trafficking world. 

“On behalf of the women I have been privileged to represent over the past decade, I thank the prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for their unwavering dedication to achieving justice in this case, and I express my confidence in their continued dedication,” he said.

“Doors closed by Epstein’s death may be opened by the very strong motivation Maxwell now has to unlock every door to which she holds a key," he added.

The belated victory for Epstein and Maxwell survivors and anti-sex trafficking activists does not erase the larger challenge of how to battle a global scourge that has only worsened since Maxwell's arrest. Sex trafficking has thrived with an insecure border, COVID lockdowns and economic hardship.

Samaritan House in Virginia has reported a troubling spike in families trafficking their own children, while the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported nearly an 98% increase of sexually enticing children incidents from between January and December 2020. 

The next big prosecution in the Epstein/Maxwell operation, experts say, may come from overseas in France, where a modeling agency CEO who often engaged with Epstein and Maxwell professionally and socially has been charged with raping minors.

Jean Luc Brunel was arrested at the airport in Paris in December 2020. His trial has not yet been scheduled. 

Photographs show Brunel and Epstein had been friends for years. Maxwell, Brunel and Epstein spent time together on Epstein’s island in the Caribbean and at his New York residence. Flight records show that Brunel and his assistant flew on Epstein’s planes with Maxwell and Epstein.

Back in 1988, CBS’ 60 Minutes ran an expose on Brunel’s history with young models. It cost him his contract with the late Eileen Ford, who ran the Ford modeling agency. 

Thysia Huisman, a young Dutch model, came forward in 2019 and alleged to French police she once met Epstein in Brunel’s Paris apartment in 1991. Days later, Brunel drugged and raped Huisman in the very same apartment, she alleged to police. 

“Brunel was professional during the day, but once the sun set, Brunel changed,” Huisman said in an interview with CDM.press. “Every night there were parties with older men from around the world.” 

Since the time Huisman reported her rape to the French authorities, 11 women have come forward in France about Brunel and Epstein. Although the statute of limitations prohibits some of their claims, it does not prohibit all of them. 

In December 2020, one year before Maxwell was found guilty, Brunel was arrested as he was on his way to Africa to a country that has no extradition with France. 

Now, like Maxwell, he sits in jail. Brunel has denied any wrongdoing, dating to a 2015 lawsuit against Epstein in which Brunel stated the “adverse publicity” surrounding the financier had damaged his reputation.

Huisman on Wednesday applauded the outcome in Maxwell’s trial. “This is a great day for all survivors of Epstein, Maxwell and all their other accomplices,” she tweeted. “Finally some justice!”

Christine Dolan is Chief Investigative Correspondent for CDM.press. She has investigated human trafficking in 140 countries for almost 22 years. 

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Ghislaine Maxwell Found Guilty In Five Counts

Going Into The Final Stretch Of Ghislaine Maxwell’s Sex Trafficking Trial

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Ghislaine Maxwell’s jury has reached a verdict of guilty in five of the six counts of sex trafficking of minors. Maxwell has been found guilty of all counts except for the second count. The prosecutors argued that Maxwell was a sexual predator and "partner in crime" with the Tier 3 registered sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, who died in jail in August 2019. Maxwell’s defense team claimed she was Epstein’s scapegoat. 

The 60 year old Maxwell faces up to 65 years in prison. 

The case relied upon the testimony of four female accusers who claimed that Maxwell abused them and trafficked them sexually for Epstein and Maxwell when they were underage - some as young as 14 years of age. 

The judge has not se the sentencing date.

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Ghislaine Maxwell’s Sex Trafficking Trial Could Set New Legal Standard For Willful Ignorance

Expert calls trial a ‘holy hell’ moment for sex trafficking world’s enablers.

Ghislaine Maxwell's Criminal Trial On Sex Trafficking of Minors - The First Week

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The federal sex-trafficking case against Ghislaine Maxwell could set a legal precedent for defendants accused of willfully turning a blind eye to sexual crimes against children. 

The prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein’s accused accomplice in a New York federal courtroom opened with media proclamations of the “trial of the century” and unfolded with prosecutors presenting salacious accusations and defense attorneys offering contradictory testimonies.

But the biggest legal bombshell may have come during the judge’s instructions to the jury. 

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan gave the green light for the jury to find Maxwell guilty if jurors believed she “consciously avoided” knowledge of Epstein’s sexual encounters with teen-age girls. The judge based her decision on the defense team’s opening argument that Maxwell was unaware of Epstein’s sexual crimes.

In other words, Maxwell’s defense could be the tipping point for her conviction if the jury relies upon the judge’s instructions. 

“This is a Holy Hell moment to hold those accountable who turn a blind eye,” said Homayra Sellier, Founder and President of Innocence in Danger, who has investigated trafficking on the streets and over the internet for more than 20 years

“While there are no guarantees for the success of human trafficking prosecutions, especially against women, there are successful precedents proving women can commit the most unspeakable crimes against children just like male predators, proving neither man or woman is above evil,” Sellier said.

“The question now is, can a sophisticated, well-educated, privileged woman romantically involved with a sex offender be held criminally liable claiming she knew nothing and hence, was not liable?” 

Maxwell is accused of being the late Epstein’s accomplice or “partner in crime” as the prosecutors called her. When Epstein died in jail in August 2019, he was a Tier 3 registered sex offender for over a decade. Epstein was in the highest rated sex offender category because law enforcement and the courts concluded he was an offender likely to repeat crimes against minors.  

Now, Maxwell faces accusations of not only grooming and recruiting minors for Epstein, but also participating in their sex abuse. Some of the victims who testified for the prosecution have been compensated by Epstein’s victims’ fund ranging from $1.25 million to $5 million.  

The prosecution rested its case against Maxwell after 24 witnesses testified over 10 days. They painted a portrait of Epstein and Maxwell’s lavish lifestyle, and their intimate relationship traveling the world on Epstein’s private jets with luminaries. Witnesses who dealt with Maxwell as the “Lady of the House” said she ordered flights in Epstein’s world, and managed his multiple houses.

Epstein owned six residences that Maxwell managed for years. She was so attentive to Epstein’s needs that he transferred over $30 million to her bank accounts through his money managers. Epstein’s lawyers also sent up some of Maxwell’s corporations that received these sums, according to trial testimony. 

Patrick McHugh, a JPMorgan executive and prosecution witness, testified that in October 1999, Epstein sold $18.3 million worth of shares in a money market fund and transferred the cash to Maxwell. In September 2002, Epstein wired $5 million to Maxwell. McHugh testified that in June 2007, Epstein wired $7.4 million to one of Maxwell’s accounts. 

Maxwell’s defense countered that Maxwell’s criminal trial was not about sex trafficking, but about “memory, manipulation, and money.” Her lawyers claimed Maxwell was not like Jeffrey Epstein and was innocent because Epstein “compartmentalized” his life.

The defense argued that victims’ memories were false, clouded by the manipulation of their own lawyers, and influenced by money.

Maxwell’s defense team prepared to call 24 witnesses, but in the end it only summoned eight witnesses over two days. A false memory expert testified, but had not interviewed the four victims and hence, could not offer any specific testimony to their memories. 

Maxwell declined to testify in her defense, arguing the prosecution failed to present its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” 

The jury deliberated for two days before taking a break last Wednesday, leaving Maxwell to celebrate her 60th birthday in prison on Christmas Day. Deliberations are slated to resume Monday

During the trial, Maxwell was accused of recruiting, grooming, trafficking and sexually exploiting four women who were as young as 14 between 1994 and 2004, and in some cases participating in their sexual exploitation. She has pleaded innocent.

Maxwell still faces a second criminal trial on two counts of perjury resulting from her deposition in a 2015 civil defamation case that was settled in 2017.  Virginia Roberts Guiffre, an outspoken Epstein victim, sued Maxwell for calling her a “liar.”  That deposition is the basis of those perjury counts.

The deposition was sealed for years until after Epstein’s death in August 2019. In that deposition, Maxwell denied ever knowing of, or recruiting and participating in, any sexual abuse of minors for, or with Epstein. 

The four victims in this current trial testified to their encounters with Maxwell and Epstein and others. Annie Farmer used her full name, while three others -- “Carolyn, Kate and Jane” --used pseudonyms.  

Here are some of the key testimonies:

Accuser One: “Jane”

Maxwell and Epstein introduced themselves to Jane while she and her friends were eating ice cream on the grounds of Interlochen, a prestigious Michigan boarding school while Jane was attending their summer camp for artists in the 1990s. Jane was 14 years old and in eighth grade. 

Epstein introduced himself as a donor. He built a scholarship cabin on the grounds and often visited the campus. Epstein was a gifted pianist, and an alum, who attended Inerlochen in 1967. 

At the time, Jane had lost her father to cancer. Her family struggled financially and lived on someone’s property. Epstein and Maxwell invited her mother to Epstein’s home and told her mother that they liked “mentoring” young students. Jane testified that Epstein paid for her voice lessons, tuition at a New York school, and gave financial help to Jane’s mother. 

When she first went to Epstein’s Palm Beach house, she testified, she saw “at least four women and Ghislaine all topless, and some of them were naked” by the pool. The first time Epstein sexually abused her was in his pool house, she said. He pulled Jane to him and masturbated. Jane said she was “frozen.” 

Jane testified that Maxwell “seemed very casual” about sex “like it was very normal” and “not a big deal.” Jane alleged that Epstein and Maxell trained her sexually and introduced her to group sex with adult women named Sophie, Eva, Michelle, and a British woman named Emmy. Sometimes Maxwell was present. 

Another time, both Epstein and Maxwell stripped naked and jumped into bed in front of Jane, according to the testimony. Epstein was masturbating. Maxwell was kissing Epstein. 

Other times, Maxwell arranged flights to New York and New Mexico for Jane at Epstein’s request. She traveled on Epstein’s planes with Prince Andrew, Epstein’s mother, his brother, Mark, and Epstein’s chef, according to the testimony. 

Jane testified that when she was 15 she sang “Happy Birthday” to “60 Minutes” reporter Mike Wallace for his 80th birthday party. Epstein introduced Jane to Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. 

Jane is a well-known actress but asked to use a pseudonym because of all the victim shaming when a survivor steps forward and to protect her family. 

The abuse continued from 1994 - 1999 when she moved to Los Angeles, she alleged. 

At the end of her testimony, the prosecution asked her about the compensation she received from Epstein’s fund. 

“I mean, it — oh, I wish I would have never received that money in the first place because of what happened," Jane said. “You know, when you're seeking some sort of closure, and I guess in, you know, laws in this country, compensation is the only thing you can get to try to move on with your life and for the, you know, pain and abuse and suffering that I received, and all the out-of-pocket money I paid to try to make this go away and to try to fix myself.”

Accuser Two: “Kate” 

Kate, now 44, testified she met Maxwell in Paris in 1994 with her then-boyfriend, who was an Oxford classmate of Maxwell’s. Kate was 17. Both Maxwell and Kate’s boyfriend would have been in their early 30s.  After the trip, Maxwell invited Kate to her London home. Kate testified, “I felt that I had found a new connection that could be really meaningful to me.” 

Maxwell introduced Kate to Epstein and encouraged her to give him massages that turned sexual, according to testimony. Kate testified Maxwell told her Epstein “needed massages all the time and it was difficult to keep up.” 

Maxwell arranged her commercial flights to Epstein’s residences in New York, Palm Beach and the Virgin Islands. Kate stated that she had sex with Epstein in the locations as well as in London at Maxwell’s home. Maxwell was present during these encounters, Kate testified. 

When Kate was 18, she was invited to Epstein’s Palm Beach residence. Maxwell instructed Kate to wear a school girl’s uniform and serve tea to Epstein and then he molested her, according to testimony. Maxwell asked Kate if she “had fun” and told Kate that she was one of Epstein’s favorites. 

Maxwell allegedly encouraged Kate to find more girls. "You know what he likes, cute young pretty like you,” Kate testified Maxwell told her. 

The court told jurors that because of Kate’s age she was not a sexual victim per se in the indictment, but nevertheless her testimony could be taken into consideration. 

Accuser Three: Carolyn

Carolyn testified she was molested by Epstein from the time she was 13, sometimes three times a week. She was addicted to cocaine and pain killers. She received hundreds of dollars for each visit. She dropped out of school in the seventh grade and never returned, according to the testimony. 

Carolyn said she was recruited by Virginia Roberts Guiffre, who was not called by either the prosecution or the defense. Carolyn’s former boyfriend testified that he drove Carolyn to Epstein’s Palm Beach residence multiple times, and that she would leave with $100 bills they spent on drugs and alcohol. 

The first time Carolyn went to Epstein’s home Maxwell was present and told Guiffre to take Carolyn upstairs to the massage room, according to the testimony. Guiffre took off her clothes. Carolyn followed, but remained in her bra and panties. Epstein walked in and the two girls began massaging his legs. Epstein flipped over and had sexual intercourse with Giuffre while Carolyn sat on the sofa watching, according to the testimony. 

Carolyn testified she continued to go to Epstein’s residence more than 100 times, and each massage ended in sexual encounters.

Carolyn testified that Maxwell scheduled her for Epstein’s massages at his Palm Beach residence. Sometimes Maxwell would call Carolyn’s cell phone, or her boyfriend’s and mother’s. Sometimes, Epstein would call her directly, according to the testimony.

Carolyn testified she shared her personal history with both Epstein and Maxwell. She was raped and molested by her grandfather starting at four years of age. Her mother had a history of drug and alcohol addiction. 

One day while Carolyn was fixing up Epstein’s massage table and Maxwell entered the room and groped her, according to the testimony. 

“She came in and felt my boobs and my hips and my buttocks and said….that I had a great body for Mr. Epstein and his friends,” Carolyn testified.

Epstein asked Carolyn to recruit “any friends my age or younger,” Carolyn testified. She brought three girls over to the Epstein’s home and was paid $600. 

At the age of 16, Carolyn and her boyfriend ran off to Georgia. She got pregnant, and after the birth of her child, she returned to Epstein, desperate for money. 

When Carolyn turned 18, she realized she was “too old” for Epstein, she testified. Today, Carolyn said she suffers from mental illness and is on medication for her drug addiction. 

Accuser Four: Annie Farmer

Annie Farmer, now 42, testified she met Epstein through her sister, Maria, when she was 16 years old. Maria was an artist working for Epstein in New York. Epstein paid for Annie’s flight to New York as a Christmas present for Maria. 

When Epstein took the sisters to the movies, he reached over and touched Annie, but stopped short of getting caught by Maria, according to the testimony. 

Later, Epstein invited Farmer to his New Mexico ranch and spoke with her mother and represented that it was a retreat for 20-25 prospective college students Epstein wanted to help.  Epstein represented to Mrs. Farmer that “his wife” Maxwell would chaperone although Maxwell and Epstein were not married, according to the testimony.  

When Annie arrived, she was the only student, she testified. Maxwell and Epstein took her shopping and to a movie theatre. There, Epstein “right away began to hold my hand and caress it” and “rub on my foot and on my arm,”  - all in front of Maxwell, she testified. 

Afterwards, at the ranch, Maxwell introduced Farmer to massaging Epstein’s feet. She remembers Epstein “groaning.” 

The next day Maxwell asked Farmer if she had ever had a professional massage. They retreated to Farmer’s guest room whereupon Maxwell set up the massage table and told Farmer to get naked, according to testimony. 

Farmer laid face down and then Maxwell instructed her to flip over, and pulled down the sheet, and massaged Annie’s breasts. 

Because the door was open, Farmer said, she suspected that Epstein was watching her. 

During that weekend, Epstein came into Farmer’s guest room and crawled into bed with her. Epstein told her he wanted to cuddle as he pressed his body against her. Farmer got out of the bed and retreated to the bathroom. 

Epstein’s Butler Juan Alessi 

Juan Alessi, who worked for Epstein at his Palm Beach residence as house manager, offered explosive testimony. He said he reported to Maxwell as the “Lady of the House.” 

Maxwell and the staff were handed a 58-page employee instruction book that they were to follow.

“Remember that you see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing, except to answer a question directed at you,” stated the instructions. 

When asked his interpretation, Alessi testified “it means a kind of warning that I was supposed to be blind, deaf, and dumb, to say nothing of their lies.”

More emphatically, the book instructed the staff, “Unless otherwise instructed, NEVER disclose Mr. Epstein’s or Ms. Maxwell activities or whereabouts to anyone” and “advise Ms. Maxwell of any strange telephone calls or inquiries.” 

Alessi described his work as “slavery,” saying he typically worked from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. when they were in residence. He said he was instructed by Maxwell to never look Epstein “in the eyes.”

It was “very degrading to me,” Alessi testified.

There were “endless lists” of responsibilities instructed by Maxwell well beyond the staff on hand. 

When Alessi initially worked for Epstein, Epstein had one massage a day but by the end of his employment with Epstein there were “three” a day and he saw “many, many, many females” coming to Epstein’s Palm Beach residence, according to the testimony. He admitted he knew two of the young females were underage at the time.

He not only was instructed to put $100 bills in Epstein’s car, but was to make certain that on Maxwell’s nightstand was her eye shades and a gun in Epstein’s nightstand drawer. 

Alessi testified that when he straightened up the massage rooms, he cleaned used sex toys and placed them in a Maxwell’s bathroom closet next to latex costumes. 

“Black vinyl or leather black,” Alessi described. 

Pilot Larry Visoski

Who were the men Visoski flew and witnessed in Epstein and Maxwell’s orbits? Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Donald Trump, violinist Itzhak Perlman, actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker, former Sen. George Mitchell, and former astronaut and Ohio Senator John Glenn, he testified.

Visoski flew for Epstein for years and claimed he never witnessed any sex on the flights but did witness Epstein traveling with some of the alleged victims. 

Christine Dolan is Chief Investigative Correspondent for CDM.press. She has investigated human trafficking for almost 22 years in 140 countries

Originally posted at JTN, by CDMedia's Christine Dolan, reprinted with permission

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Episode 3 - The Fight Against Human Trafficking - Interview With Homayra Sellier Of Innocence In Danger

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American Conversations Host Christine Dolan speaks with the founder of Innocence in Danger Homayra Sellier on the Ghislaine Maxwell trial.

"The world is watching this case…"

This interview is part of a series on The Fight Against Human Trafficking.

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Going Into The Final Stretch Of Ghislaine Maxwell’s Sex Trafficking Trial

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On Monday, the court will hear the closing arguments in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking criminal case in New York. 

The prosecution is expected to paint Maxwell as a sexual predator of minors referring to the testimony of four victims and corroborating testimonies. 

The defense is expected to recite their own opening statement that this case is about “memory, manipulation, and money,” and that their client is innocent and the prosecution did not prove their case.  

The question remaining for the prosecution is whether they presented facts that lead to a guilty verdict beyond a reasonable doubt. 

On Friday, when asked by the judge if Maxwell chose to testify on her behalf, she refused claiming that there was no need to because the prosecution did not present a case that elevated beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The question for the defense is whether their defense was even a defense at all that could save Maxwell from a guilty verdict. 

The prosecutors could have presented more witnesses, but kept them limited to 22. Over 100 victims were compensated by Jeffrey Epstein’s estate to a tune of $135 million.  

The defense claimed that the court would hear sensational testimony from 35 witnesses, but that was hardly the case. 

Only seven testified. One was subpoenaed and refused to respond. One was to fly into the New York from London, but did not make it on time. The Judge refused to delay the trial. Another one said she would take the ‘fifth’ presumably precluding her from making incriminating statements. 

Lawyers representing the victims who testified for the prosecution’s case were to be called. The judge ruled these lawyers’ testimonies were inadmissible. 

Seemingly, the attorneys were targeted so the defense could argue that the lawyers “manipulated” their clients. 

A memory specialist was called for the defense, but her testimony was weak. She was not allowed to characterize the memories about the victims who testified. 

As for the money angle to the defense’s argument in their opening statement - yes, the victims did receive compensation from the Epstein victims’ compensation fund. The range of compensation for the prosecution’s witnesses was $1.25 million - $5 million. 

The compensation fund recognized the prosecution’s witnesses as victims, but now the question is whether the jurors in the Maxwell’s trafficking case see Maxwell as a pimp, madam, and sex predator and procurer of minors leading them to sexual slaughter. 

Hovering over the case is whether women can be viewed as manipulative traffickers. 

In the recent sex cult trial of NXIVM, wealthy and well-educated women pled guilty to facilitating the sexual pleasure of their cult leader for sex. 

In the sex trade, the name given to those who organize younger victims are called “bottom bitches.”  In many cases, they are extremely harsh on those they control for the trafficker to reduce the harm upon themselves. Some even have to registered as sex offenders even if they receive no prison time.  

Hstory tells us that women traffickers are not above the law. A trafficker is a trafficker no matter what the sex. 

The weight is on Maxwell’s prosecutors’ presentation in court versus Maxwell’s defense.  

In this case, Maxwell’s team hyped her defense, but fell flat at the end, and perhaps, there is good reason. 

Perhaps, there is no defense for an indefensible crime. 

Noticeably though, there is ample evidence on the sidelines that the defense may be building a case for an appeal though. 

Five motions for bail. All denied. Accusations of inhumane conditions in the detention center where Maxwell is being held. A letter sent to US Attorney Garland asking him to step in on this inhumane treatment of a prisoner as well as an appeal to the United Nations for violations of human rights, requests for attorneys to testify which were denied, and not waiting for a supposedly pivotal British witness that would proffer contradictory testimony of one of the four witnesses. 

It could be that if a guilty plea is reached, Maxwell’s defense has been laying ground for an appeal all along. 

Christine Dolan has covered human trafficking for nearly 22 years in 140 countries - on the street and over the internet and all faces of human trafficking, including, but not limited to labor, sex, sex tourism, ritual abuse torture, child soldiers, internet trafficking. institutional trafficking, corporate trafficking, medicinal trafficking, the NGOs involved in anti-trafficking efforts, as well as those falsely accused of human trafficking.

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Ghislaine Maxwell’s Prosecution Rests - Hold Your Hats On Her Defense

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Prosecutors rested their case against Ghislaine Maxwell last week. Defense team presents today. 

What have we learned so far? 

Initially, the case was to last six weeks but now, it could end in half that time. 

Leading up to Ghislaine Maxwell’s current six count sex trafficking criminal trial in New York’s federal court these past two weeks,  international media interests were heightened about the Maxwell/Jeffrey Epstein protracted sordid saga spanning at least three decades. 

Expectations ran high. U.S. federal prosecutors were finally going to brush the paint on the canvas to create the truthful portrait about the mysteries and unanswered questions surrounding the alleged international sex trafficking criminal enterprise. 

For years, Maxwell was painted as a wealthy, witty, charming, socially aggressive, self-promoting, well-educated, earthy British heiress, although her late Father left his family in disgrace and financial tatters. Epstein allegedly picked up her life after her Father’s disgrace in the UK leaving two of her brothers facing criminal allegations. The drama was high. Later, her brother were found innocent, but the facts were real. Maxwell’s family was affected financially and negatively so. 

Today, Maxwell is reduced to the former paramour and best friend as alleged pimp and madam of Epstein, a wealthy Tier 3 registered sex offender.

Victim after victim for years claimed that, but for Maxwell, none of Epstein sexual crimes could have spanned from New York to Michigan, Florida, Caribbean, New Mexico and across Europe but for Ghislaine Maxwell. 

The hype set the stage for the “trial of the century.” 

The expectations were high hoping the Maxwell prosecution team would unravel the mystery of Jeffrey Epstein’s origin of wealth, and answer questions that would finally answered questions about the stash of CDs and photos confiscated by the FBI from Epstein’s New York mansion the night Epstein was arrested in July 2019. 

The public would learn what was confiscated years earlier when Epstein’s Palm Beach residence was raided before his first arrest over a decade ago.

The public would learn the names of the those who allegedly partook in the Epstein and Maxwell alleged sex trafficking enterprise. 

Witnesses would provide clarity about Maxwell’s involvement. Witnesses were to testify that it was Maxwell’s grooming that led these  victims to sexual slaughter causing pain, humiliation, ruined dreams and ambitions. 

For years, reporters, lawyers, and victims poured over thousands of pages of court pleadings, police files, and depositions reading how Epstein took the fifth to bury his complicity while Maxwell asserted her innocence in her deposition in the defamation case filed against her by Virginia Robert Guiffre in 2015. That case was settled in 2017. 

Epstein’s death in August 2019 led to victims testifying that they felt ripped off by not getting their day in court facing Epstein. 

Maxwell’s trial now was expected to give victims some closure. 

But, the prosecution rested its case after only two weeks although the case was expected to last six weeks.  

On the cusp of the defense starting today -  what have we learned?  

For years, we have learned of Epstein settling undisclosed claims with those who filed suits against him while he was alive. 

One of his attorneys involved in his early defense told this journalist that it was Epstein who pulled the strings on earlier civil settlements. 

Since Epstein’s 2019 death, his estate lawyers created a victims’ compensation fund. 

Going into Maxwell’s criminal trial, it has been reported that 125 additional claims were settled collectively for $135 million. What is unclear is whether that includes administrative fees as well as compensation to those victims who filed. 

Epstein’s estate has been estimated to be approximately over $550,000,000.

The largess of these compensations were not fully disclosed during the trial. Some were individually, but not all. It seemed the defense wanted to portray that anyone who took the stand for the prosecution who had been paid by the victims’ fund only took the stand for money. 

A clever tactic, but raisies the question - 

Why should a victim be denied a compensation for vile sexual behavior recognized by a dead man’s estate and fully reviewed by an independent team be questioned? 

The prosecution successively portrayed Epstein’s wealth with testimony and evidence of his residences and private planes. Epstein’s pilots attested to those residences with details and prosecutors provided pictures to the jury. 

Four alleged victims testified. Three were anonymous and one was identified as Marie Farmer. Two were underage when they were allegedly sexually abused and molested. Two were not underage because of their jurisdictions, but offered corroborating evidence of Maxwell’s presence. 

Maxwell’s defense team is expected to play further hardball defense tactics. 

Thirty-five witnesses are expected to testify. Some of those who have been subpoenaed are those who represented victims for the prosecution. 

Could this trial turn into Maxwell defense lawyers blaming Epstein victims’ lawyers for Maxwell’s prosecution? 

If so, this criminal trial may end up being lawyers v. lawyers, which throws a new twist into representing trafficking victims - the likes of which the anti-human trafficking has never seen in the last 22 years I’ve witnessed globally.

Christine Dolan has covered human trafficking for nearly 22 years in 140 countries - on the street and over the internet and all faces of human trafficking, including, but not limited to labor, sex, sex tourism, ritual abuse torture, child soldiers, internet trafficking. institutional trafficking, corporate trafficking, medicinal trafficking, the NGOs involved in anti-trafficking efforts, as well as those falsely accused of human trafficking.

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Ghislaine Maxwell's Criminal Trial On Sex Trafficking of Minors - The First Week

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British heiress Ghislaine Maxwell’s New York criminal trial on sex trafficking charges had its moments of drama both inside and outside the courtroom during the first week. 

The case revolves around a portrait of wealth, status, and perversion although Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, asserted in her opening remarks that the case is about “memory, manipulation, and money.”

In the earlier part of the week, long lines formed on the sidewalk entering the courthouse. Maxwell’s older sister, Isabel, was literally walking in circles around a car to avoid the paparazzi swarming her like bees, as she twirled to avoid the cameras flashing on all sides. One cameraman even remarked as she jerked right, and then left, and then right again as she tried to extract herself from the crowd, “She’s insane.”  

Near the end of the week, Maxwell’s older brother, Kevin, arrived from the UK calmly thanking the press and reminding them that Maxwell’s family supports her, reminding the press of their brother Ian’s public proclamations that the family believes in their sister’s innocence. 

It was British posh drama at its best - reminding the public of the British stiff upper lip in the face of adversity while their 59 year old younger sister is on trial for her life facing eight counts of sex trafficking of children, sex trafficking conspiracy, and perjury charges. 

Maxwell’s two counts of perjury were bifurcated for a second trial.  

If found guilty, Ghislaine Maxwell may spend the rest of her life in prison.  

Inside the courtroom, the curtain rose on “Downton Abbey’s Eccentricities” meets “Perversion in Houses of Horror” behind the doors and walls of Epstein's residences. 

Maxwell’s defense team is aggressive while the prosecution team is young, but again, this is the warm up and not the close for the six-weeks trial. 

Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr, one of Epstein’s pilots, who worked for Epstein from 1991 - 2019,  took the stand for the prosecution describing the various homes Epstein owned that Maxwell managed for years in lavish detail even to the point how Epstein appreciated the best sound system whether it be in his homes or the gym on his Caribbean island. 

He testified that Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, the late astronaut and Senator John Glenn and Britain’s Prince Andrew flew on Epstein’s planes. Visoski said he never witnessed any sexual trysts. He described Maxwell and Epstein’s relationship as more “personal” than business, and that Maxwell would call him to schedule flights. 

Epstein was always number one, while Maxwell was definitely two in the hierarchy of Epstein world. 

One of the more insightful moments was how Maxwell viewed those employed by Epstein, who reported to her directly. 

“Remember that you see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing, except to answer a question directed at you. Respect their privacy," read Ghislaine Maxwell's written staff instructions that Juan Alessi, Jeffrey Epstein's Palm Beach house manager and chauffeur, identified. 

Alessi said that Maxwell instructed him to never look at Epstein directly in the eyes, and to only speak with Maxwell and Epstein when asked, and answer only by looking away.

Alessi testified that he worked for Jeffrey Epstein from 1990 - 2002 from 5am to 10pm. He said that the never-ending lists that Maxwell gave him were “humiliating.” He had to make certain her eye shades were on her night stand and that a gun was in Epstein’s drawer when they visited the Palm Beach residence. 

Ghislaine Maxwell made a point to Alessi that she was the “Lady of the House,” even inscribing her stationery with “Lady Ghislaine,” although Maxwell's father was no duke, marquess, or earl although Maxwell’s father named his yacht, “Lady Ghislaine.” 

Perhaps, the instructions to Alessi were necessary for part of his job. 

He attested that he had to clean used double-headed dildos and sex toys in the private wing of Epstein’s Palm Beach home where Epstein received his massages, and place them in Maxwell’s basket. 

It was also the wing of the Palm Beach residence where young girls were escorted to a room where a massage table stood, and many of the sexual violations allegedly occurred. At first, Epstein wanted one massage a day and eventually, it increased to three a day. 

Alessi frequently witnessed Maxwell and other females topless around Epstein’s pool. 

Prosecutors allege Maxwell sexually groomed four teenage girls for Epstein spanning the 1990s and early 2000s, in Florida, New York, New Mexico and England, and encouraged girls to recruit others. 

Dr. Lisa Rocchio, a clinical and forensic psychologist testified on the grooming process consciously orchestrated by a predator. She explained the difference between grooming and mentoring. The later being for the benefit of a child while grooming was for the benefit of a predator. 

The first of the four victims testified under the pseudonym of “Jane.”  In 1994, she was approached by Maxwell and Epstein at a summer camp for artists. Epstein referred to himself as a donor.  “Jane” works in the entertainment industry. 

The victim testified she was abused from 1994 - 1997 starting when she was 14 years of age. She recounted the abuse on the stand and was heard sobbing even after her testimony. Her ex-boyfriend corroborated that she identified both Epstein and Maxwell as her abusers. 

In the late 1960s, Epstein attended the Interlochen’s “National Music Camp.” His course of study was Basson/Orchestra/Radio. Epstein was an accomplished pianist and was known to appreciate classical music. Over the years, Epstein made several donations to Interlochen and one employee confirmed that when “Jane” was at the camp, Epstein and Maxwell were also there. 

Alessi testified that he saw “Jane” at Epstein’s Palm Beach home with her mother and even picked her up from her home and brought her to Epstein’s home alone when Epstein and Maxwell were present. He also witnessed Epstein, Maxwell and “Jane” getting on one of Epstein’s planes. 

On cross-examination, Maxwell’s attorney questioned Jane’s discrepancies in documents that only Epstein abused her, questioning why she earlier did not mention Maxwell. She raised the notion of humiliation and embarrassment. 

Maxwell’s attorney noted that “Jane” received $5 million from Epstein’s estate.

When asked why she waited so long to go public, she replied because of victim shaming of those sexually abused. 

Nevertheless, “Jane” is one of 125 survivors, who collectively received $135 million from Epstein’s estate for the pain and suffering inflicted upon them.  

By the end of the week, Palm Beach police sergeant Michael Dawson testified that when Epstein’s Palm Beach residence was served with a search warrant in 2005 the police were specifically looking for massage equipment and sex toys. 

A massage table and an image of brown cardboard box with sex toys seized from Epstein’s Palm Beach residence in 2005 was shown to the jury just feet away from Maxwell at the defense table. 

Christine Dolan has covered human trafficking for nearly 22 years in 140 countries - on the street and over the internet and all faces of human trafficking, including, but not limited to labor, sex, sex tourism, ritual abuse torture, child soldiers, internet trafficking. institutional trafficking, corporate trafficking, medicinal trafficking, the NGOs involved in anti-trafficking efforts, as well as those falsely accused of human trafficking.

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What To Make Of Wayfair? Ask Ellen, Hanks, Chrissy Teigen...Or Ghislaine

Image: YouTube

In the crime no one wants to admit is real, the latest piece of the global child trafficking puzzle is Wayfair. What, if anything, should we make of a furniture store accused of trafficking in missing children?

Reddit user "PrincessPeach1987" brought Wayfair into the public eye with a thread about price discrepancies on cabinets named after missing children. The story went viral with alarming speed, speaking to the undercurrent of public suspicion about human trafficking.

Legacy media spoke so quickly and loudly on the matter as to seem conspicuous. Accusations of "conspiracy theory!" and "tin foil hat brigade!" were as instant and awkward as the knee jerk when a doctor taps a patient's patellar ligament with that funny little hammer.

The Secret Sun is an excellent blog that has written about child trafficking, among many other subjects, over the past several years. A recent post, "(Way)Fair or Foul?", is particularly insightful about the mass media's reaction to Wayfair--including "fact-checking" sites such as Snopes.com, which have relinquished any semblance of objectivity on the matter.

Further, Secret Sun points out Wayfair's close proximity to national children's groups and charities.

Image via Secretsun.blogspot.com

The site's author points out that Wayfair employees staged a walkout in 2019 when they discovered the company was manufacturing children's beds to be used at migrant detention camps. Further, Wayfair is connected, via Shah's foundation, to a number of children's groups, including the Boys & Girls Club, which was scrutinized for a child abuse scandal last year.

Now that the initial shock has worn off and the Twitterati, Redditors, and citizen journalists have begun to dig into the issue, many concerning accusations have come to light. Let's take a look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bId2gV7KTco
This video sums up the bulk of the accusations, if you can stomach it.

The video above, from Weekend Warrior, covers most of the bases: scores of items on the wayfair.com website with wildly high prices--simple, standalone steel cabinets worth $200 or $300 at comparable stores listing for over $10,000, all named after children who have recently gone missing.

At first, to many, this sounded like a tasteless prank or a grand coincidence. Wayfair, for its part, issued a decidedly unconvincing rebuttal to the accusations: we didn't explain the pricing, so, um, we're removing them from the website.

"The products in question are industrial grade cabinets that are accurately priced. Recognizing that the photos and descriptions provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the high price point, we have temporarily removed the products from site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point."

Wayfair's press release, 7/10/20

The company has since scrubbed all missing children's names from its products, along with language which, intentionally or not, made its products all the more suspect.

Who's Behind Wayfair?

Two friends from their college days at Cornell University co-founded the company. Niraj Shah and Steve Conine had each run their own companies before starting Wayfair, initially known as CSN, out of Conine's home in 2002. Eighteen years later, both men are billionaires. Conine's estimated net worth is variously reported from $1.1 to 2.5 billion, Shah's is $2 to 2.5 billion.

The men have made powerful friends. In 2017, Shah was made a Director on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston. Further, they have formed relationships with many celebrities who hawk products in Wayfair's online-only marketplace, such as Ellen Degeneres, Jessica Simpson, and Martha Stewart.

It was Degeneres who came under fire earlier this week when items on her own site, EDbyEllen.com, were spotted with similarly outlandish prices to those that made news for Wayfair.

https://twitter.com/_ColleenRuiz/status/1281671039190282241
At least it's not named after a missing child.

Secret Codes for Internet Searches

When model numbers for Wayfair products are entered into search engines, images of scantily clad or naked children are returned...but only if you know how to do the search.

"Mouthy Buddha" has recorded several videos about child trafficking, one of which has been removed from YouTube. Here is the link to his latest video on BitChute.com. It's a crucial watch for anyone seeking to learn how to spot evidence of pedophilia.

NOTE: CDMedia strongly discourages any reader from following the steps laid out in the video to actually view the images of children. Simply watching the video should suffice to prove that some Wayfair products recently stood as placeholders for something far more nefarious than furniture, and that a vast internet network for trafficking exists just out of plain view.

The codes, when entered into the Russian version of Google--Yandex.com--return inappropriate images of various children. One such code is "SRC USA". When paired with a model number (also known as a SKU) from certain Wayfair products, images of specific children are returned. It's like an evil menu.

Life Is Like A Box of Perverts

Actor Tom Hanks' name has popped up in the pedogate conversation a number of times. His penchant for photos of lone, lost children's shoes and gloves that he posts online have raised eyebrows for many years, as did his tweets during COVID quarantine in Australia, which contained cryptic messages typed on a Corona typewriter.

Most recently, Hanks has taken to deriding people who don't wear face masks. According to the actor, it's "the least you can do," and he has "no respect" for people who don't wear masks. He even asked, rhetorically, if mask-refusers are "really Americans". Hanks has become a cheerleader for the lockdown crowd. So it was perhaps fitting that one of his Instagram photos would contain the code "SRC USA" in chalk next to a lone glove.

"Symbolism will be their downfall," as the saying goes amongst pedowatchers.

From Tom Hanks' Instagram page: note "SRC USA"

Hanks and Degeneres aren't the only ones in the hot seat, however. Chrissy Teigen, darling of broadsheet gossip columns, former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and wife of singer John Legend, had a spastic week on social media. Teigen deleted 60,000 tweets on Monday, and blocked one million accounts on Twitter today.

Why? Put simply, she fantasizes about cannibalism. And sex with children. Thanks to archived pages of her Twitter account, the sick musings of the starlet live on. So too do theories on her relationship to Jeffrey Epstein, as Teigen's name appears on the flight logs to Little St. James, a.k.a. "Pedo Island."

https://twitter.com/SomeBitchIKnow/status/1283478060013166598

It would appear that we are only beginning to unravel what has been generically termed pedogate, and that the rabbit hole is much deeper than anyone had previously imagined. That these revelations have begun to pop up simultaneously with the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell is beyond compelling.

There's so much signaling and self-indictment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-7Q5Fbc6_s
Questions?

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