Thursday, December 8

Deliberations continue in the trial against Ghislaine Maxwell

New York (CNN) – Jurors in the sex trafficking trial against Ghislaine Maxwell will hold their second full day of deliberations in a federal courtroom in New York on Wednesday.

Maxwell, the former girlfriend and former partner of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has pleaded not guilty to six federal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor, inciting a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and transporting a one minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three related counts of conspiracy.

If convicted of all six charges, the 59-year-old woman faces up to 70 years in prison.

The jury deliberated for less than an hour on Monday and for about eight hours on Tuesday. In the deliberations, she asked the court three questions related to the testimony of the women that form the core of the case against Maxwell.

First, the jurors asked the judge for transcripts of the testimonies of Annie Farmer, Carolyn, and “Jane,” three of the four women who reported being sexually abused by Epstein and whom Maxwell facilitated and sometimes participated in. abuses.

The jury also asked for the FBI’s notes from a 2007 interview with Carolyn that, according to the defense, do not match her testimony in court. The FBI notes are not in the evidence, but some excerpts were read from the record during his cross-examination.

Additionally, the jury asked if it can consider Farmer’s testimony for two of the conspiracy charges. Judge Alison Nathan said juries can do it.

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The deliberations bring to an end a three-week-long trial, highlighting the testimonies of the four women, who claimed that Maxwell recruited and groomed them to be sexually abused by Epstein. The abuses allegedly occurred when they were under the age of 18, and their accusations spanned from 1994 to 2004.

Prosecutors tried to link Maxwell and Epstein and said her actions were crucial to their abuse plan. The defense focused its case on lengthy interrogations of the four accusers and attacked their motivations and memories of the alleged incidents. Maxwell declined to testify in his own defense.

Farmer, the only accuser to testify by her full name, testified that she was 16 when Maxwell gave her a bare chest massage at Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico in 1996.

Carolyn testified that when she was 14 years old, Maxwell touched her breasts, hips and butt and told her that “she had a great body for Epstein and his friends.” The charge of sex trafficking of minors, the most serious of all, is related to his testimony.

“Jane,” who testified under a pseudonym, said Maxwell arranged sexual massages with Epstein and was sometimes involved in the abuse. The seduction and transportation charges relate to her testimony only.

The fourth accuser, “Kate”, testified that Maxwell invited her to his home and indicated how to give Epstein a sexual massage. She said Maxwell often discussed sexual issues with her and asked Kate to invite other young girls to satisfy Epstein’s sexual desires.

Epstein, an elusive financier who pleaded guilty in 2008 to state prostitution charges, was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019, but died by suicide in prison a month later. Maxwell was arrested in 2020 and has remained behind bars under close surveillance ever since.

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What Happened at the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

In their closing argument, the prosecution said that Maxwell’s close relationship with Epstein and his manipulative actions were key to the scheme of international abuse at his properties in New York, Florida, New Mexico and the US Virgin Islands.

“A middle-aged single man inviting a teenage girl to visit his ranch, to come over to his house, to fly to New York, is creepy,” prosecutor Allison Moe told jurors. “But when that man is accompanied by an elegant, smiling, respectable woman his age, that’s when everything starts to look legitimate.”

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“And when that woman encourages those girls to give that man a massage, when she acts like it’s totally normal for the man to touch those girls, she lures them into a trap. It allows the man to silence the red flags.”

In the defense’s closing statement, attorney Laura Menninger tried to distance Maxwell from Epstein and suggested that he, too, had manipulated her. He said the prosecution’s case is based on speculation and distracting photos of Maxwell with Epstein, including several showing her massaging his feet.

“She is on trial here for being with Jeffrey Epstein, and maybe that was the biggest mistake of her life, but it was not a crime,” Menninger told the jury.

Menninger also reviewed the testimony of each of the accusers, highlighting inconsistencies in their timelines and their previous law enforcement interviews in which two of the victims, Carolyn and “Jane,” did not name Maxwell.

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The lawyer suggested that they misremembered what happened and said they could have traded their stories for money.

“Why would decades go by without mentioning Ghislaine Maxwell and then suddenly, when they have her personal injury attorney, they add her to the mix?” Menninger said.

Prosecutor Maurene Comey rejected those arguments in a rebuttal that alluded to the broader social and economic forces at play in this case.

“The defendant never thought that those teenagers would have the strength to report what happened. In her eyes, they were just garbage underneath her,” he said. “Those girls would never stand up to a power couple like Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. And if they did, who would believe them?”

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