Jury begins deliberating in Ghislaine Maxwell trial

Jury begins deliberating in Ghislaine Maxwell trial

Jurors began deliberating Monday whether Ghislaine Maxwell did in fact serve as Jeffrey Epstein’s partner in crime by recruiting and grooming young girls for him to sexually abuse.

The 12-person panel will review more than two weeks of testimony as they weigh six counts against the former British socialite, including sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy.

Maxwell, who turns 60 on Christmas Day, faces a maximum of 70 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts. 

In her closing statements, Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe insisted Maxwell played an integral role in a scheme hatched by Epstein in his pursuit of underage girls.

“Maxwell was Jeffrey Epstein’s right hand,” Moe said, referring to the pair as “partners in crime,” as prosecutors did in their opening statement on Nov. 29. 

“She was a sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing,” Moe added in the federal courtroom in Lower Manhattan. “She ran the same playbook again and again and again.”

At trial, prosecutors called two dozen witnesses, including four accusers who alleged in detail how Maxwell readied them for abuse by the convicted pedophile.

In her summations, Moe highlighted that testimony as proof Maxwell engaged in “textbook” grooming of the girls. 

Maxwell and Epstein at first isolated the girls – Jane, Kate, Carolyn and Annie Farmer – by taking them alone to one of his palatial estates in Florida, New York, New Mexico or London. 

Maxwell then played her part in the conspiracy by getting the girls to relax by chatting with them about their interests or hardships in their lives, Moe said. 

The accused “predator” then normalized sexual touching and sexual behavior by appearing topless in front of them, or by asking them to rub Epstein’s feet.  

“None of this was normal. They were molesting an underage girl. That’s what Maxwell did,” Moe said. 

Defense attorneys have tried to undermine her accusers throughout the trial – and to paint Maxwell as an innocent woman scapegoated by prosecutors after Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial in 2019. 

“This has nothing to do with Ghislaine and everything to do with Jeffrey Epstein,”  attorney Laura Menninger told jurors Monday. 

“Ghislaine Maxwell is an innocent woman wrongfully accused of crimes she did not commit,” she added. 

Menninger also pointed to testimony from defense witnesses that appeared to contradict statements made by Maxwell’s accusers. 

She said accuser Kate testified about a massage room in Maxwell’s London townhouse where she first massaged Epstein – but an employee of the financier later testified that she never saw one in the home. 

Maxwell was joined by four of her siblings in the courtroom Monday, who sat in the first row as the attorneys delivered their closing statements. 

The disgraced socialite wore a black face mask and a cream-colored turtleneck as she watched her trial come to a close.

Source link