Maxwell was charged with one count of breaking the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transfer a person across state lines in order to commit a criminal sexual act, and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Mann Act.
Maxwell was also convicted of sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy, based largely on the testimony of a woman known as “Carolyn,” who told the court that Maxwell hired her as a 14-year-old to engage in sexualized massages with Epstein for $300 per session, which occurred several times a week until Carolyn turned 18.
While the Mann Act prohibits interstate transportation for the purpose of engaging in vaguely defined illegal sex acts, sex trafficking charges apply to circumstances in which a person or merchandise is transported across state borders to assist a commercial sex act or sexual contact with a minor.
Jane claimed that she was sexually abused by Maxwell and Epstein at the latter’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, and that Maxwell arranged for her to fly to Epstein’s New York apartment and his ranch in New Mexico, where the abuse occurred.
According to the New York Times, Maxwell may face up to 65 years in prison.
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Maxwell will continue to face two counts of perjury in a separate trial. During a 2016 deposition for a lawsuit filed against Epstein by Virginia Giuffre, one of his most vociferous accusers, she was charged with lying to prosecutors and claiming to be knowledgeable of Epstein’s alleged crimes. Giuffre filed a legal lawsuit against Queen Elizabeth’s son Prince Andrew in August, alleging that she was forced to have sex with the prince when she was 17 years old. The charge is denied by Andrew, a former acquaintance of both Epstein and Maxwell.
His legal team has tried to have the complaint dismissed on many times, most recently on Tuesday, claiming that the U.S. court lacks jurisdiction because Giuffre lives in Australia. During Maxwell’s trial, “Jane” testified that she travelled on a private plane with Andrew when she was 14 years old, but she made no accusations against him.
Maxwell pleaded not guilty to all counts, and her defense team said she was being used as a “scapegoat” for Epstein, who killed suicide in 2019 while doing time in a New York jail on sex trafficking charges.
“Women have been blamed for men’s poor behavior since Eve was tempting Adam with the apple,” Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said during opening statements, according to the New York Times. Maxwell’s conviction was predicated in significant part on the evidence of four women who claimed Maxwell helped groom them as teenagers for sexual contact with Epstein, sometimes as young as 14 years old. On Christmas Day, Maxwell turned 60 years old. Since her arrest in New Hampshire last year, she has been in police custody. If a decision was not reached before New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan told jurors they would have to deliberate on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Nathan voiced concern about the spread of coronavirus in New York, where the trial was being held, and stated a desire to avoid a mistrial if an outbreak among the jury occurred.
The Mann Act has a tumultuous history. While it was enacted in 1910 to prohibit women from being sold into sexual slavery, its broad language referring to “immorality” was weaponized during the Jim Crow era to arrest interracial couples. In 1913, Black world champion heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson was convicted of violating the Mann Act after traveling across state borders with white ladies, and he was imprisoned for ten months. In 2018, President Donald Trump granted Johnson a posthumous pardon.
According to Epner, federal prosecutors typically use the Mann Act to pursue travel related to sex with children. This year, singer R. Kelly was found guilty of eight Mann Act breaches, all of which stemmed from his transporting and coercing of two women, one of whom was a minor.