The jury that convicted Ghislaine Maxwell on five of six counts related to sex trafficking for her late former boyfriend, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, is the latest example of the U.S. jury system proving its worth — where prosecutors failed.
Recall that Epstein managed to reach a sweetheart deal with federal prosecutors in 2008 under which he avoided federal charges for sexually abusing underage girls, and pleaded guilty to state charges instead, facing a relatively short sentence.
Once the judicial process was allowed to function, however, and facts were prepared to a jury, justice was seen to be done.
As this author noted at Breitbart News recently:
If 2020 was the year of the riot, 2021 was the year of the jury trial — the year when Americans quietly and anonymously asserted the rule of law in the most direct fashion possible: by considering the facts, and pronouncing guilt or innocence.
Juries had been under rhetorical and political since attack since the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013 and 2014, when activists were furious that a jury in Florida declined to convict George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, and a grand jury in Missouri refused to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown — who was not, it turned out, shot in the back as he raised his hands in surrender, but rather as he attacked Wilson for the second time.
In sum: the year saw several jury trials in which the outcome, while sometimes controversial and surprising, were generally accepted by all but the left-wing activists who had targeted the jury system for years. And in the end, even the [Al] Sharptons of the world found reason to be satisfied, in some cases, that justice had been done.
Through all the political turmoil of the past few years, this peculiar feature of the American system of government has proved its enduring worth. Long may it continue.
There are those who argue, as Maxwell’s defense attorneys did, that she was largely being prosecuted as a proxy for Epstein, who died in custody in 2019 following his re-arrest. The jury, however, seems to have focused on the facts: rather than just returning a guilty verdict on all charges, it acquitted her on one of them, suggesting that it engaged in careful deliberations.
Few are praising the prosecutors, who seem to have left out witnesses and information, prompting accusations that the trial was used as a cover-up. And the judge has left much about the case under seal, keeping many of Epstein’s secrets hidden.
Yet as 2021 draws to a close, Americans can take heart that the jury system, while flawed, is working well, against the odds.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.