Trial begins for alleged Jeffrey Epstein co-abuser Ghislaine Maxwell

Maxwell has been charged with counts of grooming, abusing, and recruiting minors for the late Jeffrey Epstein

Updated: November 29, 2021 - 10:18am

The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged accomplice of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, begins Monday.

The long awaited trial for many presents what they consider the last opportunity for justice for Epstein's alleged young, female victims.

Maxwell is facing six federal charges for allegedly grooming, abusing and recruiting several minors in the U.S. and U.K. from 1994 to 2004.

Among the allegations is that Maxwell participated in "group sexual encounters" with Epstein and a minor. 

Epstein died in August 2019 in his New York jail cell awaiting trial on new and federal charges for the alleged sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. He was convicted in Florida in 2008 with procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute.

The 59-year-old Maxwell, if convicted on all counts, faces a maximum sentence of 70 years in prison. Since her arrest, Maxwell has been held in a Brooklyn, New York, lockup facility, from which she and her attorneys have repeatedly and unsuccessfully petitioned for her released on bail.

Maxwell's attorneys say their client has been subject to sexual abuse and harassment by the guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Maxwell has continued to maintain her innocence, and during a recent interview with the Associated Press, her brother Ian Maxwell called the forthcoming legal proceedings "the most over-hyped trial of the century without a doubt."

"This is designed to break her. ... And she will not be broken because she believes completely in her innocence and she is going to give the best account she can," Ian Maxwell said.

Veteran trial lawyer and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Rossi told the New York Post that in terms of what the public will see from the prosecution, saying, "I expect them to be very cautious but firm – strategic, but not inflammatory. They will under promise yet over perform at trial."

Whether Maxwell will take the stand remains unclear. If she does, it will likely become the focal point of the already high-profile case.