Monday, January 24

Ghislaine Maxwell was a dangerous predator, says prosecutor

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial came to an end Monday with a prosecutor labeling her a dangerous and sophisticated predator who recruited and groomed teenage girls to be sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein, while a defense attorney told the jurors during closing arguments that Maxwell is an “innocent.” woman.”

Assistant United States Attorney Alison Moe said Epstein could not have preyed on teenage girls for more than a decade without the help of the British socialite, whom she described as the “lady of the house” as Epstein abused the girls in a New York, Florida mansion. farm and ranch in New Mexico.

“Ghislaine Maxwell was dangerous,” Moe told the jury, saying Maxwell accepted more than $ 30 million from Epstein over the years. “Maxwell and Epstein committed horrible crimes.”

Defense attorney Laura Menninger said prosecutors were unable to prove any charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Ghislaine Maxwell is an innocent woman, wrongly accused of crimes she did not commit,” Menninger said.

That portrait was in conflict with Moe’s description of Maxwell as a “sophisticated predator who knew exactly what he was doing. She ran the same playbook over and over and over again. “

“She manipulated her victims and groomed them. It caused deep and lasting harm to girls. It’s time to hold her accountable, ”Moe said.

The abstracts were produced at the beginning of the fourth week of a trial that was originally projected to last six weeks. With a coronavirus outbreak in New York worsening by the day and a holiday weekend ahead, Judge Alison J. Nathan urged attorneys to keep their closings tight so the jury can begin deliberating Monday.

The Menninger shutdown revised an issue that defense attorneys pressed early in the trial: that Maxwell was made a scapegoat after Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan federal jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial. .

“Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein,” Menninger said.

Maxwell, 59, was supported in court by four brothers who sat side by side in the front row of spectators.

Maxwell has been incarcerated without bail since her arrest in July 2020. The judge has repeatedly denied her bail, despite her attorney’s arguments that her $ 22.5 million estate promise and the Willingness to be watched 24 hours a day by armed guards would guarantee their appearance. In the court.

The shutdowns came after two dozen prosecution witnesses testified, including four women who say they were abused by Epstein with the help of Maxwell as teenagers.

Moe faced the jury while Maxwell, in a white sweater, sat behind her at the defense table and wrote notes, occasionally turning the pages of a notebook. Later, Maxwell turned in his chair to face the jury, sometimes lowering his black mask to drink from a bottle of water.

The prosecutor told jurors that Maxwell was an “elegant, smiling, age-appropriate woman” who covered up Epstein’s “creepy” behavior.

He asked them to ignore the testimony of a psychology professor who testified for the defense, saying that the testimony that memories can fade over time and be influenced by what people hear, see or read was a “total distraction.”

“These women know what happened to their own bodies,” she said. “Your common sense tells you that being teased is something you will never forget.”

But Menninger defended the memory expert’s testimony, citing cases in which Maxwell’s accusers never mentioned the defendant’s name when they first spoke of the abuse they suffered from Epstein.

He said the accusers’ testimony was manipulated by civil attorneys representing them as they sought millions of dollars in payments from a special fund created after Epstein’s suicide to compensate his victims.

Menninger said the women suddenly “regained the memories that Ghislaine was there.”

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