Reactions to Ghislaine Maxwell guilty verdict

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Dec 29 (Reuters) - Lawyers and others reacted to the news that British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty by a U.S. jury on Wednesday of helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.

U.S. ATTORNEY DAMIAN WILLIAMS IN MANHATTAN

"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. Their courage and willingness to face their abuser made this case, and today’s result, possible."

ANNIE FARMER, WHO TESTIFIED AS A PROSECUTION WITNESS AGAINST MAXWELL AT HER CRIMINAL TRIAL

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"I am so relieved and grateful that the jury recognized the pattern of predatory behavior that Maxwell engaged in for years and found her guilty of these crimes ... I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law. Even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse and exploit the young."

ROBERT GLASSMAN, LAWYER, PANISH SHEA BOYLE RAVIPUDI LLP, LOS ANGELES (REPRESENTED "JANE," ONE OF MAXWELL'S ACCUSERS WHO TESTIFIED AT HER TRIAL)

"The verdict screams loud and clear--if you make it easier for another to sexually abuse children, you, too, will be held accountable for your role in that abuse.... The strong women survivors of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein's abuse can all sleep better tonight knowing that the justice system got it right.... The jury stayed focused on what really mattered: Ms. Maxwell played a critical role in helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse girls."

VIRGINIA GIUFFRE, ONE OF MAXWELL'S AND EPSTEIN'S MOST PROMINENT ACCUSERS

"My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that. I will remember this day always.

Ghislaine Maxwell speaks with her attorneys as she decides whether or not to testify during the trial of Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., December 17, 2021. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

"Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell’s abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed.

"I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be."

CARL TOBIAS, WILLIAMS PROFESSOR OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND SCHOOL OF LAW, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

"I am not surprised that the jury took so much time. This was a very high-profile case in which both sides were extremely well prepared and made strong cases. Another explanation may be that the jury was being conscientious.

"I think Maxwell will appeal, as she said she was not testifying because the U.S. had not proven its case. She would have to show some error in the way the case was tried or some jury misconduct, both of which will be difficult to show. From a distance, it seemed like the victims were brave, sympathetic witnesses, who were providing credible testimony about awful behavior."

JESSE GESSIN, LAWYER, GESSIN TRIAL COUNSEL LTD, SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA

"The verdict is quite shocking, given the government's performance at trial. Witnesses were unprepared, and some of the more iconic names associated with Maxwell were not presented at trial. In the end, it could have been that the nature of the allegations was just too much for the jury. I would expect any appeal to focus on jury instructions as opposed to specific evidentiary rulings."

ERINN ROBINSON, PRESS SECRETARY, RAINN (RAPE, ABUSE & INCEST NATIONAL NETWORK), AN ANTI-SEXUAL VIOLENCE NONPROFIT, WASHINGTON, D.C.

"We are relieved that Maxwell will be held accountable for her predatory behavior and her role in grooming young women for abuse by Jeffrey Epstein. We are grateful for the brave survivors who came forward to hold Maxwell responsible for her part in his criminal enterprise. We hope that this verdict helps even more survivors see that perpetrators can be held accountable, no matter how powerful or well connected."

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Luc Cohen; Editing by Howard Goller

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