For the weeks of her trial, Ghislaine Maxwell has been a picture of calm.
Tactile with her legal team, every private chat conducted with an arm around their backs or hers, a takeaway coffee on the table for her, a knowing look here and there. A smile, a warm chat at the start of the day, a fond farewell at the end. As they returned from the Christmas break, a jovial “Happy Birthday, happy Christmas,” to mark the time of the year and her 60th spent in prison.
She was calm tonight too. As the jury returned its verdict, she poured a large glass of water, hugged her legal team and walked back to the cell to travel back to the prison she has been held in for the past months.
All the way along it was very convivial. Except at the moment the defence team chose to rest their case. After talk of 35 witnesses or more, they ran with just a handful. And none was hugely compelling.
Even the one who, on paper at least, should have been the most compelling - a woman who had spent time in Maxwell and Epstein’s homes - fell short. As a key witness who said she had seen nothing, she found herself admitting to the jury she did have memory problems which had a been quite an issue over the years.
Perhaps that was why, as the case rested, Ghislaine Maxwell lost her composure for the first time in this case. Grabbing hold of her lawyer’s arm, gesticulating, exasperated and upset.
I suspect that was the moment she knew her decades-long charade was over.
The defence had been short and unconvincing. They didn’t have much to work with and now it is clear what they had clearly hasn’t worked.
Through the course of this trial the defence team attempted to tear into the women who spoke against Ghislaine Maxwell. They were young girls 20 years ago, often vulnerable and from homes either emotionally or financially broken.
The perfect prey for Maxwell and Epstein.
No, they were not 100 percent clear on times and dates but they were unwavering in their descriptions of what went on. And there was a similarity to all their testimonies.
Fundamentally, it was as an attractive middle aged woman that Ghislaine Maxwell had made them feel safe and made their families feel safe. She was that person as a young girl you are so often told to turn to if you feel unsafe. The “nice lady”.
The jury, six men, six women, clearly saw through that charge. The “nice lady” faces at the very least 40 years in jail for her crimes.