Ghislaine Maxwell’s siblings have already launched an appeal against her child sex trafficking conviction, claiming that she will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
‘We believe firmly in our sister’s innocence – we are very disappointed with the verdict. We have already started the appeal tonight and we believe that she will ultimately be vindicated,’ the Maxwell siblings said in a statement.
The British socialite was found guilty of recruiting and grooming teenage girls for sexual abuse by her former lover, the late paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell, who turned 60 on Christmas Day, now faces the grim prospect of spending the rest of her life behind bars – with a maximum of 65 years in prison – unless she can overturn the conviction.
Matthew Barhoma, a criminal appeals attorney in Los Angeles, said he thought that Maxwell could have strong grounds to mount an appeal.
One of the women who testified that they were sexually abused was over the legal age of consent at the time of the incident.
The judge instructed the jury not to convict based on her testimony, but she was still allowed to give evidence and Barhoma told Insider that it could be argued in an appeal that she improperly influenced jurors.
Barhoma also said lawyers might try and persuade the appeals court that some of the evidence was ‘dated or stale’ because the sexual assaults happened decades ago.
Neama Rahmani, president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and a former federal prosecutor, told Insider he doesn’t believe Maxwell has any grounds to appeal but expects she will anyway
‘She’s going to appeal because otherwise, she’s going to die in federal prison,’ Rahmani said.
Ghislaine Maxwell ‘s siblings have already begun appealing her sex trafficking conviction. Her siblings Christine (left), Isabel and Kevin are above leaving the trial following the guilty verdict
Ghislaine’s trial was just the latest chapter in the roller coaster history of her family, once headed by her crooked publishing tycoon father Robert Maxwell (Kevin, Isabel and Christine seen after the guilty verdict)
Lead defense attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, spoke to reporters after Maxwell was found guilty
Ghislaine’s sister Isabel and brother Kevin attended court, while brother Ian repeatedly criticised her prosecution and the conditions she had endured in custody while on remand
Kevin, Christine, Isabel Maxwell, and Ian Maxwell, brothers and sisters of Ghislaine Maxwell, arrive at the court in New York on Monday
Ghislaine Maxwell in June 2019 (pictured front) with her six living siblings. Ian Maxwell, her older brother, top right, shared the photo in March 2021. A month after it was taken, Jeffrey Epstein was arrested and Ghislaine went into hiding with her husband, Scott Borgerson. The siblings, L-R, are: Anne, Kevin, twins Isabel and Christine, Philip, and Ian
An appeal does not give Maxwell a re-trial but it is an opportunity for her attorney to raise any specific errors which they believe occured at trial.
It will not buy her any time before sentence and she can expect to be working on the appeal with her lawyers while locked up in federal jail.
Outlining the process, civil rights lawyer Aamer Anwar told MailOnline: ‘Maxwell would require to appeal to the federal court of appeal, if she were to lose – which is highly likely – she could then try to file a petition asking the Supreme Court leave to review the case.
‘The Supreme Court, however, does not have to grant review and will only do so where there is a potential breach of an important legal principle or where there is a conflict in the lower courts appeal process.
‘She has, according to the US Attorney, been convicted of one of the worst crimes imaginable and faces up to 70 years in prison and any appeal process whilst lengthy is highly unlikely to be successful and will not be allowed to delay sentencing.’
On Wednesday evening after the verdict, Maxwell poured herself a glass of water and leaned into her lawyer, Jeffrey Pagliuca, who put an arm round her.
Her sister Isabel sat behind her with her head bowed, while siblings Kevin and Christine stared into space.
Even before the jury reached its verdicts, sources close to her family said her defense team would challenge any guilty verdicts. Last night Maxwell’s family wrote on Twitter that the court should have given additional instructions.
Referring to an earlier debate about one of the jury questions, they wrote: ‘Request that the Court give the jury additional instructions to correct apparent errors in the jury’s understanding of Counts Two and Four, and the law applicable to those counts, that were highlighted by the jury’s note this afternoon.’
Earlier today, they also quote the Wall Street Journal in a tweet that read, ‘Juries are also only as good as the information and guidance they receive.’
Maxwell walked out of court flanked by two security guards. She was not handcuffed or shackled on her legs.
She managed one look back and walked out with her head held down. In the elevator Maxwell’s lawyer and close friend Leah Saffian appeared red eyed and distraught.
Judge Nathan read out the verdict after being passed it in an envelope and asked each juror to confirm that it was correct by passing around a microphone. Each answered that yes it was – one male juror was seen rubbing his eyes and forehead.
Maxwell is expected to be placed on suicide watch in jail after jurors agreed she was Epstein’s ‘partner in horrific crimes’. She masterminded a sick scheme to round up schoolgirls on an industrial scale for them and their friends to molest.
‘Ghislaine Maxwell made her own choices. She committed crimes hand in hand with Jeffrey Epstein. She was a grown woman who knew exactly what she was doing,’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe said.
Maxwell’s siblings have been putting their own reputations on the line to defend her against such statements.
Ghislaine’s sister Isabel and brother Kevin attended court, while brother Ian repeatedly criticized her prosecution and the conditions she had endured in custody while on remand.
They stood by her in a determined gesture of family support, despite the risk of tarnishing her own reputations by not condemning her over her relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
However, a jury of six men and six women found her guilty on five out of six charges.
Maxwell’s defense team, including Jeffery Pagliuca and Laura Memminger, were seen leaving the Manhattan courthouse after the trial on Wednesday
Christian Everdell, of Maxwell’s defense team, walked past reporters after Wednesday’s verdict
The verdict capped a monthlong trial featuring sordid accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14, told by four women who described being abused as teens in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s palatial homes in Florida, New York and New Mexico.
Jurors deliberated for five full days before finding Maxwell guilty of five of six counts. As the verdict was read, Maxwell appeared to show little reaction behind a black mask. She stood with her hands folded as the jury filed out, and glanced at her siblings as she herself was led from the courtroom, but was otherwise stoic.
She faces the likelihood of years in prison – an outcome long sought by women who spent years fighting in civil courts to hold Maxwell accountable for her role in recruiting and grooming Epstein’s teenage victims and sometimes joining in the sexual abuse.
The defense had insisted Maxwell was a victim of a vindictive prosecution devised to deliver justice to women deprived of their main villain when Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial in 2019.
The legal fights involving Epstein and Maxwell are not over.
Maxwell still awaits trial on two counts of perjury.
Lawsuits involving the abuse allegations also continue, including one in which a woman not involved in the trial, Virginia Giuffre, says she was coerced into sexual encounters with Prince Andrew when she was 17. Andrew has denied her account and that lawsuit is not expected to come to trial for many months.
Commenting ahead of the verdict, a family friend said: ‘Blood is thicker than water, and that means the Maxwells stick together through thick and thin.
‘Ghislaine’s brothers and sisters regard her as their beloved little sister, and family loyalty has always run deep.
‘It is no surprise that Isabel, Kevin and Ian have offered their support in such a public fashion.
‘Obviously they had nothing to do with her relationship with Epstein, and it would have been easy to leave her to her fate – but that is not how the Maxwells operate.
‘They blame Epstein for sucking her into his web, and believe her prosecution was an attempt to make an example of her because his suicide meant he could not face justice.’
Robert Maxwell with his ‘favourite’ daughter Ghislaine watching the Oxford vs Brighton football match in October 1984
Robert Maxwell pictured speaking to the press and at the Football Writers’ Association in 1990
Ghislaine’s trial was just the latest chapter in the roller coaster history of her family, once headed by her crooked publishing tycoon father Robert Maxwell.
Her father who owned the Daily Mirror died aged 68 in November 1991 after he tumbled into the Atlantic from his luxury yacht Lady Ghislaine – named after his youngest daughter.
His family were left to pick up the pieces of his shattered business empire after it emerged that he had embezzled hundreds of millions of pounds from his employee pension funds.
Ghislaine and her six surviving siblings had to live in the shadow cast by the legacy of his death which is still regarded as a mystery today.
Kevin, 62, became the UK’s biggest ever bankrupt when a £407 million ($549 million in U.S. dollars) bankruptcy order was made against him in 1992 due to his role in his bullying father’s business.
Isabel described how she dealt with challenges in life in an interview in 2006, saying: ‘I have learned not to run away from bad times.
‘Personal tragedies and loss connect you to what is happening in this world…I am a survivor with an innate fire that doesn’t allow me to be destroyed.’
She also described her close bond with her siblings, revealing how she grew up ‘completely in sync with the family’ and ‘when something got to her siblings, it got to her too.’
Isabel was Ghislaine’s only family member to attend every day of her trial, and she sat just yards away from her in the public gallery, waving at her in gestures of support.
She became a familiar sight walking in and out of court every day, wearing one of her trademark berets to ward off the chill of the New York winter.
Kevin was in court for several days when he sat beside Isabel, even featuring with her in artists’ impression drawings of Ghislaine in the courtroom.
He spoke to reporters outside the Manhattan court to complain about the conditions she was having to endure during the case.
Kevin claimed that she was being inadequately fed and forced to wear shackles while being taken to and from court which had left her bloodied and bruised.
He confirmed that he had asked the US Attorney General Merrick Garland to intervene in her case to ensure she received food and was not restrained
Maxwell’s family friend and attorney Leah Saffian appeared red eyed and distraught as she left the courthouse on Wednesday
Saffian was seen leaving the courthouse on Wednesday
Kevin claimed his sister had to be shackled from when she left the Metropolitan Detention Centre until she arrived in court, and then again for her journey back.
He said: ‘She’s obliged to walk up and down stairs, in the shackles, and they hurt her.
‘She’s been bruised, she’s even bled, and you really have to ask yourself in 2021, what on earth are they doing shackling a 59-year-old woman in this way every day when she represents absolutely no threat to the community.’
He added: ‘She’s on trial for her life and she received no food on the first day, she received a boiled egg, she is lucky if it is not moldy, she receives a couple of pieces of bread, maybe a Kraft slice and a banana or an apple.
‘That is literally everything from 6.30am until 7.30pm when she gets back to the detention center. It is simply inadequate sustenance.
‘We don’t understand how it is possible that everybody washes their hands of that problem.’
Ghislaine’s other brother Ian was also vociferous in supporting her, and gave interviews where he maintained that she faced an unfair trial, saying: ‘My sister is not a monster’.
He claimed she had been ‘targeted’ for prosecution by US authorities who were ‘fueled by their shame and fury’ over the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein while in custody.
Ian also hit out at her time on remand, describing it as ‘500 days of effective solitary isolation in that evil place’, adding that ‘she’s weakened, drained and hollowed out’.
Robert Maxwell who had nine children with his wife Elisabeth ‘Betty’ Meynard was known as a tyrannical and bullying father, but he doted on Ghislaine.
In a 1995 interview, Elisabeth talked of how they had recreated her husband’s childhood family who were killed in the Holocaust.
Two of Ghislaine’s siblings had their lives cut short by early deaths while she went on to enjoy a gilded jet-set lifestyle as a friend of Prince Andrew and partner of Epstein before he was exposed as a pedophile.
Robert and Elisabeth’s sixth child, Karine, died of leukemia in 1957, aged three.
Her death shaped how the devastated parents would eventually view the birth of their daughter next daughter, Ghislaine, four years later.
Karine’s death upset the family’s ‘balance’ of ‘four boys and four girls’, Ian Maxwell explained in an interview.
‘So when my parents had another little girl [Ghislaine] it was really magic, it allowed the four boys and four girls to be recreated,’ Ian said. To add to the sense of miracle, she was born on Christmas Day.
And Michael was the first child born in 1946 after his parents married in 1945, but he died aged 23.
He was severely injured aged 15 in a car crash when his family’s driver fell asleep at the wheel on December 27, 1961, just 48 hours after the birth of Ghislaine.
Michael was left in a coma and never regained consciousness. He died eight years later.