Ghislaine Maxwell, One Year Later

by | Dec 28, 2022 | Firm News

Ghislaine Maxwell Horowitz Law

 

The one-year anniversary of perhaps the most high-profile trial of an abuse enabler will likely pass unnoticed. I’m referring to Ghislaine Maxwell. As best I can tell, in US history, there’s never been a more widely-covered legal case whose only defendant was primarily the sex trafficker rather than only the DIRECT PERPETRATOR of child sex crimes. Let me be clear: Maxwell did molest girls AND sex traffick them. Both are serious offenses. But the latter charge, enticing, grooming, and manipulating Epstein’s victims and sex trafficking, is what she was punished most severely for.

My interest in Maxwell and Epstein goes back quite a ways. Years ago, I was one of the first attorneys to file lawsuits against Epstein at a prior law firm. I was in fact, the FIRST attorney to subpoena and receive Epstein’s famed little black book (“the telephone directory containing names and numbers for a huge roster of Epstein’s wealthy and powerful friends and also, presumably, some of the people who’ve accused him of crimes” and includes “more than 1,000 celebrities, politicians and titans of business, including Prince Andrew, Alec Baldwin, Tony Blair, and Michael Bloomberg”). And in 2020, Horowitz Law proudly represented some brave survivors in the Epstein compensation fund. As I think back on Maxwell’s crimes, and of course, those of her conspirator Jeffrey Epstein, here are three takeaways:

1) It continues to stun us that SO MANY suspected or knew of Epstein/Maxwell’s crimes yet stayed silent. Consider these admissions by one-time friends of the couple made in the documentary “Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy Rich” (now streaming on Netflix): “We were hearing that Jeffrey liked younger women and school girls and that Ghislaine was introducing him to them.” “It all just seemed deeply weird.” “I got the sense that there was something a bit strange.” “In retrospect, it seems horrific that we weren’t outraged.” “What was I thinking? What were we all thinking?”

In the weeks after 9/11, an advertising executive advising the Department of Homeland Security came up with the phrase, “See something? Say something!” It’s designed to remind all of us that we can each play a role in stopping potential terrorism. But it’s also good advice when it comes to the safety of children. If your gut tells you something’s not right, something feels creepy, something ‘doesn’t add up,’ we must report our fears and suspicions to law enforcement to protect kids. That’s what friends and associates of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein did not do, time and time again. Scores of vulnerable girls and young women suffered as a result.

2) The expensive legal defense team hired by Maxwell thought they had a solid defense strategy focused on ‘memory, manipulation, money.’ They tried to discredit what and how the victims remembered, wanted to depict them as schemers, and tried to convince jurors that the survivors just wanted money. In the Maxwell case, despite spending loads of money on experienced defense counsel, that strategy did not work. It sometimes does. Years ago, it worked often. But as society becomes more aware of grooming, abuse, and cover-ups, it’s not nearly as effective as it was decades ago. If you know someone who fears speaking up about their abuse, please remind them that Maxwell and Epstein were caught. Their wealth and connections protected them for a time, but not forever. Epstein died in jail, and Maxwell is there now. So it’s not wise to assume that predators’ always get away with it.’ Times are, indeed, changing. And for survivors, they’re changing a lot. Only by reporting abuse, however, can those who need help get help.

3) Finally, at the risk of stating the obvious: anyone can be a predator or an enabler. One interviewee in the documentary acknowledges that he was “blinded by class.” In other words, because Maxwell and Epstein were so accomplished, wealthy, and well-connected, they wouldn’t commit crimes against teenagers and young women. Other interviewees admitted that it had never occurred to them that a woman would be involved in something so sordid.

What wrong-headed and indeed dangerous assumptions these are. So remember: we are largely kept safe on the road by our assumption that ANY vehicle – new or old, fancy or plain – can hurt us. And we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safer if we assume that ANY person – rich or poor, male or female – can hurt us if we are vulnerable and lulled into being relaxed because of their charm, persuasiveness, warmth, or station in life.

Some other documentaries about Maxwell that are worth checking out include, “House of Maxwell” (on BBC Select) and “Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell” (on Peacock TV).

Horowitz Law is a nationally recognized law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse and has filed numerous sexual abuse claims on behalf of those who Jeffrey Epstein abused. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped, or sexually molested by Jeffrey Epstein, contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.