By Luc Cohen
NEWYORK – Opening statements are expected to begin on Monday in the sex abuse trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite charged by U.S. prosecutors with helping recruit and groom underage girls for her longtime associate and former boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein.
Below is a timeline of significant events leading up to Maxwell’s trial.
The Miami Herald publishes a report detailing a previously-secret deal that Epstein, a math teacher-turned-money manager, reached in 2007 with Miami federal prosecutors probing allegations that he sexually abused minors at his Palm Beach, Florida mansion. He pleaded guilty to lesser state prostitution charges.
The report brings widespread attention to the decades-old allegations against Epstein and Maxwell in the context of the #MeToo movement, which has encouraged women to speak out about abuse by powerful men.
Epstein is arrested https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-justice-epstein/financier-epstein-arrested-in-u-s-sex-trafficking-case-idUSKCN1U20IK on charges of luring dozens of girls as young as 14 to his homes in New York City and Florida and paying them for sex acts. He pleads not guilty https://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-jeffrey-epstein/financier-epstein-pleads-not-guilty-to-sex-trafficking-charges-involving-girls-idUSKCN1U3136 in Manhattan federal court. Epstein is placed on suicide watch after being found unconscious in his jail cell with neck injuries. He claims he was attacked by his cell mate and is taken off suicide watch less than a week after the incident.
Epstein’s cell mate is transferred on Aug. 9. The following morning on Aug. 10 Epstein is found hanged https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-people-jeffrey-epstein-idUKKCN1V00H0 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. Medical examiners on Aug. 16 rule his death a suicide https://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-jeffrey-epstein-autopsy/official-autopsy-concludes-epsteins-death-was-suicide-by-hanging-idUSKCN1V61Y7.
Maxwell is arrested by the FBI https://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-ghislaine-maxwell/jeffrey-epstein-friend-ghislaine-maxwell-arrested-on-sex-abuse-charges-idUSKBN24321V in Bradford, New Hampshire on July 2. Manhattan federal prosecutors charge her with four criminal counts of procuring and transporting three minor victims for illegal sex acts, and two perjury counts.
Maxwell pleads not guilty https://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-ghislaine-maxwell/ghislaine-maxwell-seeks-bail-citing-coronavirus-and-denies-jeffrey-epstein-charges-idUSKBN24B2KN, saying in a filing she “vigorously denies the charges.” U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan denies Maxwell’s bid for bail, saying she posed a flight risk.
A 2016 deposition Maxwell gave in a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit filed against her by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre is made public https://www.reuters.com/article/people-ghislaine-maxwell/ghislaine-maxwell-repeatedly-denies-witnessing-underage-sex-other-misconduct-in-epstein-deposition-idUSKBN27723G. In the deposition, Maxwell forcefully denied seeing Epstein have sex with underage girls or helping him arrange illicit sexual encounters.
March 29, 2021
Prosecutors expand their case https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-people-ghislaine-maxwell/ghislaine-maxwell-faces-new-charges-as-u-s-expands-sex-crime-case-idUSKBN2BL2OV against Maxwell, filing a new indictment that charges her with sex trafficking involving a fourth victim. Maxwell recruited the victim in 2001, when she was 14 years old, to engage in sex acts with Epstein, according to the indictment.
April 23, 2021
Maxwell pleads not guilty https://www.reuters.com/world/us/ghislaine-maxwell-enter-plea-sex-trafficking-charges-2021-04-23 to the new charges.
April 27, 2021
A U.S. appeals court rejects Maxwell’s latest request https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-appeals-court-rejects-ghislaine-maxwells-bail-request-2021-04-27 for bail.
August 13, 2021
Nathan rejects Maxwell’s bid to dismiss her indictment on the grounds that she was immune to prosecution under a 2007 agreement Epstein’s made with federal prosecutors in Florida. Maxwell had argued that deal, which was later widely criticized as too lenient, also covered accused co-conspirators like herself.
November 16, 2021
Nathan begins questioning more than 200 potential jurors https://www.reuters.com/world/search-fair-jury-decide-ghislaine-maxwells-fate-2021-11-16 for the case, asking about their own experiences with sexual abuse and their opinions about people with luxurious lifestyles, in an effort to weed out biased individuals.
November 29, 2021
Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin.