Ghislaine Maxwell’s behaviour in court turned heads during the socialite’s sex trafficking trial.
The 60-year-old was on trial for six counts of sex trafficking, which she had pleaded not guilty to, but was on Wednesday found guilty of five of the charges.
Her attorneys had argued that she was being scapegoated for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged conduct because he is dead.
The billionaire pervert killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.
The trial, which began last month in New York, attracted a huge amount of media attention, with all eyes firmly on Maxwell – the daughter of disgraced media mogul Robert.
She is said to have been an atypical presence in court and to have an unusual amount of involvement in legal proceedings for a defendant.
According to Will Pavia, who was covering the trial for the Times, Maxwell was “very active” while proceedings were ongoing.
She regularly wrote and passed notes to members of her legal team and family, the reporter said, and “is very, very engaged with her own defence.”
“It often feels like she is directing and marshalling her own defence,” Pavia said on the Stories of Our Times podcast towards the end of Maxwell’s trial.
He continued: “When some of the witnesses are testifying against her sometimes she sits with her back to the wall with her arms crossed or in her lap, looking at them, or looking at the jury, but for the most part she is scrunched over her desk, writing.”
It is not just Maxwell’s attentiveness when it comes to the legal process that caught reporters’ eyes.
During the pre-trial hearing, the British woman turned her gaze to Jane Rosenberg, who has been producing court sketches of proceedings.
Maxwell put pencil to paper and started drawing the artist, who in turn drew her back – leading to a curious work in which the defendant is breaking the fourth wall.
The same thing happened once the full trial got underway.
“Jane jumped to her feet and started drawing Maxwell,” Pavia continued.
“She was drawing Jane and then her eyes swept along the bench and she started looking at me and the other reporter, Lucia Osborne-Crowley.
“Lucia said ‘I think she’s sketching us.’ And I think she was.
“She was looking straight at us and then looking down at her notebook and then making furious jottings. It is a very strange experience.
“When she looks right at you it is quite an unnerving and startling experience. It was sort of assertive I suppose, trying to take back control in some way is what it felt like.”