One of the most high-profile victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex abuse has applauded the conviction on Wednesday of Ghislaine Maxwell, tweeting: “My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that.”
“I will remember this day always,” tweeted Virginia Giuffre, who gave prominent interviews about her experience with the pair and founded non-profit Victims Refuse Silence.
“Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell’s abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed.
“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.”
Her comments followed a wave of support online for the conviction of Maxwell, who was found guilty on Wednesday of five sex-trafficking charges.
The jury deliberated six days before convicting the 60-year-old socialite, who was accused of recruiting and grooming teenage girls for the late convicted paedophile Epstein to abuse.
Spencer Kuvin, a lawyer for the victims, told Sky News that his clients considered the verdict an “absolute, unmitigated victory.”
“This is a victory for all of the victims of Ms Maxwell and Epstein; moreover, I think this is a victory for all young children, boys, girls, young women and men, who are victims of abusers like this. It will give them the needed push to step forward and to speak their truth and to hopefully get justice.
“Hopefully, this is not just the end of one saga but the beginning of another – and that’s for all these victims to come forward and hold their abusers accountable in court.”
And the actions of Ms Giuffre may ensure that Prince Andrew will have his day in court sooner rather than later. A hearing is scheduled in New York for 4 January in a civil sexual assault proceedings being brought by the 38-year-old against him. Prince Andrew has categorically denied these claims.
In a bid to have her case thrown out, however, the Duke of York has challenged the Epstein victim’s status as a US resident.
The prince’s lawyer, Andrew B Brettler, has claimed that Ms Giuffre lives in Australia, not in the US as her legal filings suggest.
Ms Giuffre, 38, has claimed that she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein and forced to have sex with the prince when she was 17 and legally a minor under US law. She is suing the prince in the Southern District Court of New York and alleges that the sexual abuse occurred in the London home of Maxwell as well as in Epstein’s New York townhouse and his private island in the Caribbean.
If the prince’s legal team can successfully prove that Ms Giuffre is not a US resident, the Southern District Court will no longer have jurisdiction over the case as federal court rules do not permit both parties in any legal action to be foreign citizens.