A federal judge on Friday declined to overturn the conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme. File PHoto by Rick Bajornas/United Nations/EPA-EFE
April 30 (UPI) -- A federal judge has declined to overturn the conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking scheme.
"The government at trial presented extensive witness testimony from multiple victim witnesses and others, as well as corroborating documentary and physical evidence," U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan ruled Friday.
"The testimony and other trial evidence established [Maxwell's] role in grooming and recruiting underage girls and using the cover of massage to perpetrate sexual abuse."
Maxwell, 60, was convicted by a jury in December on five of six counts after she was accused of procuring young girls to be sexually abused by Epstein.
Nathan upheld the conviction on three of the five counts, one of which was for violations of the Mann Act and another for violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Nathan said in court documents that Maxwell had been convicted on three other counts that violated the same statues and would uphold just one of them, a small victory for the British socialite that could reduce her sentence during her sentencing hearing in June.
"This legal conclusion in no way calls into question the factual findings made by the jury," Nathan wrote in the opinion.
"Rather, it underscores that the jury unanimously found-three times over-that the [Maxwell] is guilty of conspiring with Epstein to entice, transport, and traffic underage girls for sexual abuse."
Maxwell had successfully argued in post-trial motions that judgement on those three "multiplicitous" charges would violate the Fifth Amendment's double-jeopardy clause.
Nathan ruled that there was sufficient evidence to find Maxwell guilty of transporting a minor, referred to as Jane, for sex even though the socialite did not travel with her.
Jane testified that, when she was 15, she had trouble getting on a commercial flight because she did not have proper identification and Maxwell "made it happen" by helping her get on the flight.
"Jane also testified that Maxwell was present on some occasions when Epstein sexually abused Jane in New York when she was under the age of 17," the opinion reads.
"The court concludes that this evidence, taken together, was sufficient for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that [Maxwell] knowingly transported Jane to New York with the intent to engage in sexual activity illegal under New York law, or at minimum, aided and abetted Epstein in doing so."
Maxwell has been detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal jail in Brooklyn, since her arrest. Before Nathan's opinion, she had faced up to 65 years in prison during her sentencing.
Earlier this month, Nathan denied a request by Maxwell for a new trial and said that a juror showed no bias during Maxwell's trial late last year.