cooperate with investigators and start naming names, or appeal the decision. Either way, she will likely face decades in prison.| Latest News Headlines

cooperate with investigators and start naming names, or appeal the decision. Either way, she will likely face decades in prison.

| Latest News Headlines | World News

Ghislaine Maxwell attends Day 1 of the 4th Annual WIE Symposium at Center 548 on September 20, 2013 in New York City.Laura Cavanaugh / Getty Images

  • Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of sex trafficking and faces up to 65 years in prison.

  • She can appeal and challenge the decision, or start cooperating with investigators.

  • Either way, Maxwell is unlikely to avoid a substantial jail term, experts have told Insider.

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and longtime partner of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, was found guilty on five counts Wednesday in his high-profile sex trafficking trial.

Maxwell was convicted of three counts of conspiracy, a separate count of sex trafficking and transporting a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity. The charges carry a potential sentence of 65 years.

The verdict came nearly a year and a half after Maxwell, 60, was arrested and charged with organizing and participating in the sexual abuse of underage girls. In light of the conviction, she has two avenues to follow, and neither will necessarily prevent her from spending a lot of time behind bars.

“Maxwell really has two options – she can fight this case and appeal it, where she likely faces a 65-year sentence, or she can start posting a few names of who else was involved for a much lighter sentence. “Matthew Barhoma, a criminal appeals lawyer in Los Angeles, told Insider.

Maxwell’s family have announced plans to appeal

In a statement Wednesday night, Maxwell’s family said they plan to appeal the decision.

“We strongly believe in the innocence of Ghislaine. Obviously, we are very disappointed with the verdict. We have already started to work on the appeal and we are convinced that it will be justified,” Bobbi C told reporters. Sternheim, one of Maxwell’s attorneys. the Manhattan courthouse.

Neama Rahmani, president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and former federal prosecutor, told Insider he doesn’t think Maxwell has a legal basis to appeal, but expects her to do so anyway. way.

“She’s going to appeal because otherwise she’s going to die in federal prison,” Rahmani said, adding that he thought the prosecution case against Maxwell was strong.

Barhoma agreed, but said he believed Maxwell might have strong claims in an appeal process.

For example, one of the four women who testified to being sexually assaulted was over the legal age of consent at the time of the incident, prompting the judge to order jurors not to convict based on her testimony. However, she was still allowed to testify as a witness and Barhoma said he could be argued in the appeals that she improperly influenced the jury.

He also noted that it could be argued that some of the evidence was “dated or out of date” as some of the accusations relate to incidents from decades ago.

Even if Maxwell has some success in the appeal process and the case is retried, prosecutors are likely to still get a conviction, based on the strength of their case and the testimony of the other accusers, Barhoma said. It is extremely unlikely, he said, that the conviction will be overturned completely.

If Maxwell cooperates, she probably won’t get a “free pass”

deliberation of the jury ghislaine maxwell

Jeffrey Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell sits in the courtroom to hear a jury note in a courtroom skit in New York City on December 21, 2021.REUTERS / Jane Rosenberg

Many famous and powerful people have been linked to Epstein in one way or another, including former presidents, princes and wealthy businessmen.

“The most interesting part is what everyone wants to know: will she cooperate? Rahmani said. “Is she going to name names, or does she just call out and be silent?” “

Maxwell has so far given the impression that she was not interested in cooperating with the investigation into Epstein, but that may change in light of her conviction.

“You don’t want to be a snitch, you don’t want to start pointing fingers, but now you’re a convicted felon and envisioning decades in federal prison,” Rahmani said. “Are you trying to save yourself?” “

If Maxwell cooperates, her deal with prosecutors may ultimately depend on the extent of her help, including whether she is willing to testify against others or whether her cooperation results in the conviction of others.

Either way, there are probably minimum sentences that should be respected. The fact that Epstein died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting sex trafficking charges also plays against Maxwell, making her the central figure in the investigation.

Rahmani has said that Epstein was awaiting trial for sex trafficking when he died (although he pleaded guilty in 2007 to soliciting prostitution and recruiting minors for the purpose of prostitution), prosecutors will need to be “very sensitive” to the issue. The idea of ​​giving Maxwell a break in return for his cooperation, although it turns out to be very valuable.

“It’s a really fine line that you have to walk. You obviously want the information. You want to encourage her to testify. You want to prosecute other people who have actually been involved in the sexual abuse,” he said. he declares. “But you don’t want to give Maxwell a free pass because she contributed to the abuse.”

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