Tears, Vindication and Relief: Maxwell Accusers React to Verdict
(Bloomberg) -- More than two years after the death of Jeffrey Epstein, his victims -- many of whom say they were children when they were abused by the disgraced financier -- have finally won through the conviction of his ex-girlfriend and accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell.
Over the past month, Epstein and Maxwell accusers have watched the trial from inside the courtroom and read about it from afar. Some have expressed anxiousness about what the 12-person jury would make of the four women who took the stand to recount their abuse, and of the efforts made by the defense to discredit them.
After Maxwell was found guilty of five counts including sex-trafficking of minors, some of Epstein and Maxwell’s accusers spoke out. Here is what they, as well as lawyers representing many more, had to say:
“I am so relieved and grateful,” Farmer, one of the four victims who testified in the trial, said in a statement. “She has caused hurt to many more women than the few of us who had the chance to testify in the courtroom. I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law. Even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse and exploit the young.”
“My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that. I will remember this day always,” Giuffre, a victim of Maxwell and Epstein’s who didn’t testify at the trial, posted on Twitter Wednesday. “I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be.”
Ransome, who attended parts of Maxwell’s trial over the past month and says she was abused by Epstein at the age of 22, called Wednesday’s verdict “a major step forward in the fight for justice” and said the four victims’ “courage is contagious.”
“Finally, after decades in some cases, many survivors of Maxwell’s sex trafficking now know that the public heard their testimony, and their voices can no longer be ignored or shamed,” she wrote in a statement. “I feel vindication for myself and for all survivors.”
Stein, who says she’s traveled nearly every day from her home in Philadelphia to attend Maxwell’s trial, says she was first abused by the couple when she was 21 years old and was thankful and proud of the four women who testified against Maxwell.
“To be picked apart about their choices. To be picked apart about their memories, the worst most horrible things about their lives. They were picked apart so there could be justice for the rest of us,” Stein said of the victims and what they endured from the defense. “Today I hope people will look at us as victors instead of victims.”
Lisa Bloom, The Bloom Firm
Bloom, who represents several Epstein accusers, called the verdict “monumental” when reached by phone Wednesday.
“Honestly, I’m fighting back tears, happy tears. And that doesn’t happen very much,” she said. “When I think about my clients and the careers they’ve lost and relationships that have been destroyed, the substance abuse, all the pain they’ve gone through and finally in 2021, there is some justice and accountability held against one of these monsters.”
Gloria Allred, Allred Maroko & Goldberg
“This case sends a message that anyone who conspires with a sexual predator to sex traffic underage girls will risk being prosecuted, convicted and potentially being sentenced to many years in prison for this very serious crime and other crimes as well,” Allred, an attorney who represents 20 Epstein accusers, said in an e-mailed statement.
Brad Edwards, Edwards Pottinger LLC
“Ghislaine never anticipated that the vulnerable girls she was feeding to her monster boyfriend would grow up to be the powerful and courageous women they became,” Edwards, who represents more than four dozen accusers, said in an e-mail. “No matter how rich you are or powerful you are, if you choose to exploit and abuse, your day will come.”
Robert Lewis, The Marsh Law Firm PLLC
Lewis, who represents Ransome, said Maxwell’s victims, as well as survivors of sexual abuse, have “been heard” and are “no longer silenced.”
“This will hopefully cause more to come forward to tell their stories and it will perhaps deter perpetrators from knowing that the free pass is over,” Lewis said by phone. He added Epstein and Maxwell’s story “was a classic case of the rich and powerful getting special privileges,” and “perpetrating the vulnerable.”
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