Last day of hearing in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell in New York

The indictments and pleadings began this Monday in New York at the trial of Jeffrey Epstein’s former partner, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, tried for sex crimes, before a jury retired to deliberate.

If convicted of providing young underage girls to Jeffrey Epstein – a multimillionaire American jet set financier – to sexually exploit them, 59-year-old Ghislaine Maxwell faces a very long prison sentence. .

Several testimonials

The jury must reach a unanimous decision to find Ghislaine Maxwell guilty. If not, then Judge Alison Nathan could cancel the trial which should start from scratch. Since the hearings began on November 29, prosecutors have sought to portray the Briton – who also has American and French nationality – as the accomplice between 1994 and 2004 of Jeffrey Epstein who committed suicide in prison two years earlier in the awaiting his own trial.

As the trial progressed, four women testified against the daughter of former media mogul Robert Maxwell. Two of the witnesses thus affirmed that they were not more than 14 years old when Ghislaine Maxwell had encouraged them to lavish massages on Jeffrey Epstein, these ending in sexual acts.

One of them, known by the pseudonym “Jane”, detailed how Ghislaine Maxwell recruited her to a summer camp and made her feel “special”. “Jane” also recounted how encounters and sex acts with Jeffrey Epstein had become routine, with Ghislaine Maxwell sometimes present. Another witness, “Carolyn”, testified that she was usually paid $ 300 after each sexual encounter with Jeffrey Epstein, and that often Ghislaine Maxwell gave the money herself. A third woman, Annie Farmer, now 42, accuses Ghislaine Maxwell of stroking her chest on the ranch owned by Jeffrey Epstein in New Mexico when she was a teenager.

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Refusal to testify

For the defense, however, Ghislaine Maxwell is a “scapegoat”, used to judge the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein in his absence. Her lawyers also expressed doubts over the ability of witnesses to recall events over 25 years old, saying “false memories” had taken hold in the minds of these women, especially due to pressure. intense media. Ghislaine Maxwell refused to testify at her trial, merely stating that the prosecution had not proven her guilt. “Your honor, the prosecution has not provided evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, so I do not need to testify,” she said Friday.

The trial was expected to go until January, but Ghislaine Maxwell could now know her fate before December 25, her 60th birthday. If the jury does not reach a verdict by Wednesday night, they will go their separate ways for the Christmas weekend before meeting again on Monday, December 27. Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to all counts for which she faces up to 80 years in prison, including a maximum of 40 years for trafficking in minors.

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