What The Ghislaine Maxwell Verdict Could Mean For Prince Andrew

The following article includes allegations of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

On December 29, Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of helping the late Jeffrey Epstein procure teenage girls and traffic them for sex, per Reuters. She was convicted on five of six total counts brought against her and faces a sentence of five to 40 years in prison for each charge. The specific convictions included conspiring to transport a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiring to convince a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual acts, and sex trafficking minors, among others, according to NBC News. The verdict came a year and a half after the former socialite was first arrested for the criminal charges and a month after the trial began.

Of the many women who came forward to share their stories of being involved in Epstein's sex trafficking scheme, Virginia Giuffre claims she was recruited by Maxwell back in 2000 at the age of 16, per The Cut. In an interview with the publication following Maxwell's conviction, Giuffre stated that Maxwell was "more evil than Epstein" himself and expressed that she felt vindicated by the justice that was served. During her time in Epstein's sex trafficking ring, Giuffre claims she was sexually abused by Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II's third child. In August, Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit against the prince that outlined the sexual misconduct she allegedly went through at his hands, per the BBC. Maxwell's conviction may have implications for the case against Prince Andrew moving forward.

Prince Andrew may not get off scot-free

Prince Andrew has made multiple attempts to get the Southern District Court of New York to dismiss the case against him, which alleges that he sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre when she was reportedly trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein at the age of 17. However, the civil case remains standing. Now that Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of helping Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls, Prince Andrew may be next, according to Rolling Stone. Lisa Bloom, who serves as attorney to many of the women who have come forward to make accusations against Epstein, told the publication that, "Prince Andrew should be quaking in his royal boots." She added that, "Reckoning is coming for everyone who enabled Jeffrey Epstein and participated in his scheme."

The Duke of York has maintained that he played no part in the crimes Epstein was accused of and that he never met Giuffre. In an interview with the BBC in 2019, Prince Andrew stated that "there was no indication" that his friend was trafficking young girls for sex. When asked specifically about Giuffre's claims, the prince said, "It didn't happen." Even after being confronted about the photograph that portrays Prince Andrew with his arm around Giuffre's waist, he claimed to have "no recollection of the photograph ever being taken."

In the meantime, Giuffre has issued a statement in which she states that she has "faith" that those involved in her abuse and that of many others will "be held accountable" by law (via Rolling Stone).

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).