Maxwell's Defence Promise 'Shocking' Revelations at Resuming Trial of Epstein's Alleged 'Pimp'
Ghislaine Maxwell, once Jeffrey Epstein's girlfriend, has pleaded not guilty to charges she acted as the late convicted sex felon's chief enabler, recruiting and grooming young girls for him to deflower. Her defence has maintained the British socialite is being made a scapegoat for Epstein’s crimes.
While the late Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime girlfriend and alleged “pimp”, Ghislaine Maxwell, is unlikely to testify in her own sex trafficking trial, which resumes today in Manhattan federal court, her defence team is promising sensational revelations, reported The Sun.
“The defence case will be shocking. There will be some very surprising revelations,” a source was cited as promising.
To tear asunder the earlier testimony of four female accusers who claim Maxwell “groomed” them for the multi-millionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse, her legal team has reportedly lined up 35 witnesses, including a false memory expert.
According to a court filing last Sunday, lawyers for Maxwell confirmed their intention to summon 11 more witnesses than the prosecution, after the latter rested their case on 10 December, calling the daughter of disgraced newspaper mogul Robert Maxwell a "dangerous predator" and Epstein’s “partner in crime”.
Maxwell’s lead lawyer Bobbi Sternheim is said to have informed Judge Alison Nathan that some of the witnesses will be travelling from abroad. A request was made that three witnesses be granted the right to testify anonymously, or “under some sort of protection, name protection, whether that’s a pseudonym or a first name…”
“We have been in contact with a number of our potential witnesses, and we are already getting requests – and I think these are valid requests – that at least some of them testify anonymously,” said defence attorney Christian Everdell.
“We all know that this case has gotten a lot of attention and that people who are testifying here might get a lot of unwanted attention, especially if they are testifying on behalf of Ms. Maxwell,” he added. Everdell insisted that the Court’s ruling on the issue may “impact the willingness” of witnesses to testify, “thereby compromising Ms. Maxwell’s right to present her defence…”
12 December 2021, 14:02 GMT
The judge had allowed three of the four accusers who earlier took the stand at the trial to testify either anonymously or under their first names. Evidence will purportedly be produced by the defence team to show that Ghislaine Maxwell could not have been present during some of the accusations of wrongdoing lobbed at her by the accusers.
The British socialite, 59, has been pronounced “too fragile” to take the witness stand. “Ghislaine Maxwell is unlikely to testify over serious worries she is too fragile and will not be able to acquit herself properly,” said her spokesperson. Amid complaints by the woman’s family that she was not being fed properly and was delivered in shackles to and from court, a friend was cited as adding: “There are significant concerns about her health.”
© AFP 2022 / JOHANNES EISELE(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 02, 2020 acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, announces charges against Ghislaine Maxwell during a press conference in New York City
(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 02, 2020 acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, announces charges against Ghislaine Maxwell during a press conference in New York City
Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire in July 2020 and faces six charges over her involvement with the late billionaire Epstein: one each of enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal sex acts, sex trafficking of a minor, and three counts of conspiracy related to the other counts. She has been held in prison ever since as she was deemed a flight risk. If convicted, the woman, who pleaded not guilty on all charges, faces up to 80 years in prison.
Jeffrey Epstein, charged with running a sex trafficking network of minors in 2019, died in his Manhattan cell on 10 August while awaiting trial, having pleaded not guilty to the charges. Since the trial began on 29 November in the downtown Manhattan courtroom of US District Court Judge Alison J Nathan, the jury has heard four women detail accusations that they were teens when Maxwell, as an Epstein accomplice, allegedly ensnared girls as young as 14 into a "nightmare" after promising them "the world".
11 December 2021, 07:50 GMT
Witnesses testified the pair exploited them between 1994 to 2004 at Epstein's homes, including an estate in Palm Beach, Florida; his posh Manhattan townhouse; and a Santa Fe, New Mexico, ranch. Furthermore, they claim that Maxwell not only watched the girls being molested, but was not averse to joining in. However, attorney Bobbi Sternheim said her client was a “scapegoat for a man who behaved badly.”
“She’s not Jeffrey Epstein. She’s not like Jeffrey Epstein,” Sternheim said, adding:
“He’s the proverbial elephant in the room. He is not visible, but he is consuming this entire courtroom and overflow courtrooms where other members of the public are viewing.”
Sternheim also suggested on 29 November that the four women who would testify that Maxwell recruited them to be sexually abused were suffering from quarter-century-old memories. Furthermore, she pointed out that their lawyers had guided them to get money from a fund set up by Epstein’s estate after his death. According to the lawyer, “accusers have shaken the money tree, and millions of dollars have fallen their way”.
A small portion of Ghislaine Maxwell’s “little black book” said to contain contact details for thousands of people, including Prince Andrew, will be released publicly during the trial. Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged sex slaves, has claimed she was trafficked out to engage in intimate relations with the second son of Queen Elizabeth II when she was a minor. The Duke of York has categorically denied the accusations and said he had never met her.
The prosecution had earlier agreed that several pages from the book can be used “for a limited purpose”. Maxwell’s lead lawyer Bobbi Sternheim was cited as saying she anticipates the presentation of the defence’s case to last until Monday, with closing arguments possibly taking place as soon as Tuesday.
© REUTERS / JANE ROSENBERGGhislaine Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, stands before U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan with her defense team of Bobbi Sternheim and Christian Everdell during a pre-trial hearing ahead of jury selection, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., November 15, 2021
Ghislaine Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, stands before U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan with her defense team of Bobbi Sternheim and Christian Everdell during a pre-trial hearing ahead of jury selection, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., November 15, 2021
After closing arguments, the presiding judge is expected to instruct jurors about how to weigh the case, with the start of deliberations proceeding until there is a two-day Christmas break. Ghislaine Maxwell also faces two other charges of perjury over allegations she lied in a deposition in a separate civil suit, but these will be tried separately.