The guilty verdict in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell is raising questions about what happens next in a case where young girls were trafficked by Maxwell on behalf of deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein to rich and powerful men around the world who have yet to be prosecuted.
“It is akin to prosecuting a getaway driver but not the bank robbers,” said legal analyst Jonathan Turley. “Maxwell was an enabler not just for Epstein but his high profile friends. Those ‘Lolita Express’ flights transporting girls for these men.”
…It is akin to prosecuting a getaway driver but not the bank robbers. Maxwell was an enabler not just for Epstein but his high profile friends. Those “Lolita Express” flights transporting girls for these men.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) December 29, 2021
During the trial, former Epstein pilot of the plane nicknamed the “Lolita Express” for its cargo of young girls, testified that he saw Prince Andrew, actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker, violinist Itzhak Perlman, billionaire Bill Gates, former astronaut John Glenn and former Senate majority leader George Mitchell on the plane, but said he never witnessed any sexual activity according to Newsweek.
Officially, Epstein committed suicide under suspicious circumstances while in federal custody. Disputes about the suicide have added to the mystery about how men who have abused girls have remained unprosecuted for so long.
Prior to Epstein’s last arrest, he was given a “sweetheart” deal by federal prosecutors in 2008 that allowed the financier to avoid the more serious charges he was facing involving the rape of a child, a decision that was credited to “poor judgment” by the prosecutor, said the New York Post.
“Letting a well-connected billionaire get away with child rape and international sex trafficking isn’t ‘poor judgment’ — it is a disgusting failure,” Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said in a statement, according to the Post.
Maxwell, 60, faces a maximum of 65 years in jail after being found guilty of five of the six charges in the federal sex trafficking case, said NBCNews. The lengthy prison sentence may provide her incentive to help prosecute others in return for a lesser punishment.
“Doors closed by Epstein’s death may be opened by the very strong motivation Maxwell now has to unlock every door to which she holds a key,” said attorney Jack Scarola, who represented a Maxwell accuser at the trial, according to ABCNews.