US trial of Epstein affiliate Ghislaine Maxwell to start

Maxwell is accused of grooming ladies for the disgraced financier to sexually abuse and faces as much as 80 years in jail.

The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite accused of grooming underage ladies for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse, is ready to start in a Manhattan federal courtroom.

Maxwell has pleaded not responsible to all six expenses in opposition to her, which embody intercourse trafficking of a minor. If convicted within the trial, which begins on Monday and is anticipated to stretch into January, the 59-year-old daughter of a newspaper baron may resist 80 years in jail.

Maxwell was arrested in July 2020, after the 66-year-old Epstein was discovered useless in a federal jail in Manhattan, the place he was awaiting trial on youngster sex-trafficking expenses. Officials have stated the dying was a suicide.

Maxwell allegedly dedicated the crimes between 1994 and 2004. They relate to 4 unnamed girls, together with two who say they had been 14 and 15 years outdated once they had been sexually abused.

Prosecutors say Maxwell befriended ladies with purchasing and film theatre journeys, later coaxing them into giving Epstein nude massages at his numerous residences, throughout which he would have interaction in intercourse acts earlier than giving them cash.

Federal prosecutors say Maxwell at instances participated within the alleged abuse, which occurred at her London home and at Epstein’s properties in New Mexico, Manhattan, and Palm Beach, Florida.

Since her arrest, Maxwell, who together with Epstein was recognized to have many influential and politically highly effective mates, has been held on the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. She has complained of unsanitary and inhumane situations and stays beneath rigorous surveillance.

Victim testimony

Maxwell’s alleged victims are set to testify that the heiress operated a hoop of ladies and younger girls who had been taken throughout state strains to supply intercourse acts and sexualised massages for Epstein, for which they obtained a whole bunch of {dollars}.

The defence has argued that prosecutors are solely concentrating on Maxwell as a result of Epstein escaped justice. They have indicated they may assault the accusers’ credibility by referencing alleged earlier substance abuse.

They additionally intend to problem their recollection of occasions by calling psychologist Elizabeth Loftus – an knowledgeable on so-called “false memories” – to the stand.

During the intercourse abuse trials of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, she testified that recollections change into distorted over time, significantly throughout questioning years later.

For its half, the prosecution intends to name psychologist Lisa Rocchio to testify about widespread methods used to groom kids, equivalent to growing belief earlier than normalising sexual contact.

Epstein had beforehand been convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying younger ladies for massages however served simply 13 months in jail beneath a secret plea deal.

Maxwell, who holds a number of passports, has been denied bail six instances, with judges deeming her a flight danger. She shouldn’t be anticipated to testify.

Allegations in opposition to Prince Andrew

Closely watched through the trial can be any revelations associated to Epstein’s high-profile mates and associates.

Maxwell’s legal professionals have sought to maintain the financier’s so-called “little black book” of contacts out of the view of jurors.

Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre, who shouldn’t be a part of the prison case in opposition to Maxwell, is presently suing the UK’s Prince Andrew, alleging he’s among the many highly effective associates Epstein “lent her to” for intercourse.

The civil lawsuit is anticipated to be heard earlier than a jury in late 2022.

Authorities haven’t criminally charged the royal, who says he “unequivocally” denies the allegations.

Maxwell, a longtime good friend of Andrew, is understood to have launched the prince to Epstein.

Maxwell individually faces two counts of perjury associated to testimony she gave in 2016 in a defamation case filed by Giuffre. Those expenses are set to be tried after the present trial ends.