Jeffrey Epstein pal Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of five of six counts on Wednesday and former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade has a theory as to why.
"When your partner is a monster, you can appear harmless by comparison. But appearances can be deceiving," McQuade wrote for The Daily Beast. "In the case of Ghislaine Maxwell, the jury wasn’t fooled by the relatively greater culpability of her benefactor, Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and alleged sexual abuser."
Maxwell could face life in prison and is also facing an upcoming perjury trial.
"Throughout the three-week trial, the defense used the scapegoat defense, pointing to the figurative empty chair that would have been occupied by Epstein, had he not taken his own life in 2019 while in federal custody in this case. Maxwell’s attorneys cast Epstein as the driving force behind the trafficking scheme. That may have been true, but that did not mean exoneration for Maxwell," she explained. "In fact, the evidence at trial showed that she was an essential component of the scheme."
McQuade noted that defense efforts to go after the victims failed at trial and suggested it might be the case that "ordinary people who end up on juries are finally getting wise to the ways of abusers."
"In life, Epstein was a predator. In death, he would not be the scapegoat. Epstein may have been the one with the voracious appetite for young girls as his sexual playthings, but his culpability does not diminish Maxwell’s guilt. As the jury clearly saw, this was a case of both/and, not either/or. Monsters come in many shapes and sizes," McQuade noted.
Read the full analysis.