Trial Begins for Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's Girlfriend Accused of Grooming Victims

Authorities allege Ghislaine Maxwell was Jeffrey Epstein's primary enabler

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwel
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Photo: Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty

Opening arguments will begin Monday afternoon in a Manhattan federal courtroom in the trial of British socialite and heiress Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein accused of aiding and partaking in Epstein's abuse of underage girls.

A jury of 12 was still being empaneled on Monday morning, after federal judge Alison Nathan questioned more than 200 potential jurors.

The judge will also select six alternate jurors.

Authorities allege that Maxwell, 59, helped her longtime companion Epstein groom girls as young as 14 for sexual abuse — incidents that she allegedly participated in herself.

Maxwell was arrested in June 2020, and charged with six felonies, including conspiracy to entice minors to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of a minor to engage in illegal sex acts and perjury.

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She pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and has been held without bond in a Brooklyn, N.Y., jail ever since.

During a press conference last year, Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that Maxwell helped Epstein "identify, befriend, and groom minor victims of abuse."

The pair "had a method," Strauss alleged, involving befriending girls by "asking them questions about their lives and pretending to be taking an interest in them."

"After developing a rapport with the victims, Maxwell then tried to normalize sexual abuse with a minor victim through a process known as grooming," Strauss added, alleging that Maxwell would discuss sexual topics with the girls, undress in front of them, and be present for sex acts involving the girls and Epstein.

Maxwell has long denied any wrongdoing.

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In August 2019, Epstein died by suicide while in jail.

Dozens of women have come forward with allegations of abuse at the hands of Epstein.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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