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A Crash Course on Ghislaine Maxwell and Why She’s Been in The News Lately

***Trigger Warning: This article discusses the high-profile case of Ghislaine Maxwell. Because of the legal case and accusations involved, this article might be difficult for some readers. Please take the time and the space you need to deal with the topics of sexual violence, grooming and pedophilia.***

Ghislaine Maxwell has been making headlines for decades. Having surrounded herself with the important socialites and of generations past, Maxwell has never strayed too far from the cameras and the limelight. In more recent years, our generation knows her for a different reason.

After surrounding herself with people and even being involved with people like Jeffrey Epstein in 1992, Maxwell started to catch a different type of attention. Accusations of pedophilia against Epstein began to gain traction and became a court case itself. This had a negative on Maxwell’s image and eventually, these accusations caught up to her.

Jeffery Epstein pleaded guilty to different charges for crimes against minors, and around the same time, Maxwell and Epstein became distant and weren’t seen in public together very often.

The accusations against Epstein began to raise questions about Ghislaine and her involvement. In 2019, when Jeffery Epstein was arrested for sex trafficking, Maxwell started to become a much bigger person of interest and partner in these crimes. In July of 2020, Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested for her involvement in Jeffery Epstein’s Mar-a-Lago home and the crimes that took place there. She was charged with sex trafficking of children, perjury and enticement of minors.

As her trial approached, Maxwell was charged with two other crimes which include sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor. The trial began in November of 2021 and was wrapped up before the new year. Maxwell was found guilty of five of the 6 crimes she was charged with. This means she faces up to 65 years in prison for the crimes she has been convicted of during this trial. 

Since the guilty verdict, there have been developments in the story. Maxwell’s defense has been trying to get the court to change its mind. Maxwell’s defense team is trying to get the conviction thrown out or a new trial completely. These conversations are still in the works. As of right now, the court is discussing throwing out the perjury trial if the rest of the convictions stick. 

While this story has developed thus far and continues to develop it is important to remember that real people are involved in these cases. Sexual violence has been a topic of conversation that has gained some heat in recent years. With household names such as R. Kelly, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, etc., facing similar accusations, and in some cases found guilty of those accusations, it’s started to convey the message that there can be consequences.

People are no longer above the law. Ghislaine Maxwell’s conviction furthers this message. In the time of the #MeToo movement, this is can be considered great progress. Hopefully, this progress continues, but the development in Maxwell’s case will play a big part in that progression too.

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My name is Gwenevere Ash, I am a senior at Central Washington University. I am majoring in English and Philosophy. This is my third year writing for HerCampus and in the past, I have written about real-world issues, and my own experiences and have given my opinion on topics from self-care to podcasts. Stay tuned for this years articles!