Ghislaine Maxwell’s smuggling lawsuit could answer key questions about Jeffrey Epstein – but will hardly solve all the mysteries | US news

For a woman known around the world who has been the focus of documentaries, podcasts and endless news coverage, Ghislaine Maxwell is still a mystery.

She has said very little publicly in the two decades since allegations of sexual abuse about her friend Jeffrey Epstein began to surface.

We do not know how Maxwell met the deceased financier and pedophile, what the true nature of their relationship was or how she financed her extravagant lifestyle.

Today, Maxwell will stand trial in New York on charges of sexual crimes, including conspiring to lure girls as young as 14 to engage in illegal sexual acts with Epstein from 1994 to 1997 at his home in New York City, Florida. and New York. Mexico – and at her residence in London.

She denies the charges and has pleaded not guilty, but if convicted on all counts, she will likely spend the rest of her life in jail.

It’s finally time for Maxwell to tell his side of the story.

Defense

More about Ghislaine Maxwell

Maxwell’s lawyers can claim that she was also a victim of Epstein. Other employees of the financier and convicted sex offender have used the same defense.

It is highly likely that Maxwell’s lawyers will claim she will be punished for Epstein’s crimes. They can say that the prosecutors failed to convict him, failed to keep him alive and now need someone else to blame for their own shortcomings.

Maxwell’s brother Ian has expressed another plausible defense argument: that the “enormous weight of negative publicity” means he is “fearful” that a fair trial is not possible.

The defense team is expected to try to undermine the credibility of the four alleged victims by claiming that some are motivated by money.

Over $ 125 million (£ 94 million) from Epstein’s property has been distributed to around 150 victims.

When the alleged offenses were committed between 17 and 27 years ago, an expert witness on “false memories” will be called to testify.

Professor Elizabeth Loftus is likely to argue that media coverage and contact with other victims can lead to them forming false memories of abuse.

Maxwell’s lawyers will also return to arguments about consent, which were a hallmark of pre-trial hearings.

The decision on whether Maxwell will take a stand and testify is likely to be made late in the trial once the prosecution has rested its case. But it has its dangers.

“An accused testifying is always risky,” said defense attorney Dmitriy Shakhnevich.

“Because the defendant will open up for cross-examination, for the investigation of past misconduct into past criminal conduct to past, possibly even immoral conduct.”

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Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

The prosecution

Testimony from the four alleged victims will be at the heart of the prosecution’s case, with only one, Annie Farmer, renouncing her anonymity.

Mrs Farmer claims she was abused by Epstein on his New Mexico ranch in 1996.

In an interview with CBS in 2019, she said: “Maxwell was a really important part of the care process … They worked together as a team.”

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the most prominent of Epstein’s prosecutors, is not expected to be part of the trial.

Supporting witnesses will be called. There may be significant but not yet revealed individuals who have agreed to cooperate with the government and testify.

An expert witness in nursing, Dr. Lisa Rocchio, will testify.

At a court hearing, she told the court that academic studies have concluded that there are common strategies in caring for children: beginning with accessing and isolating a victim, then developing trust and later making them insensitive to physical and sexual contact.

Prosecutors intend to use a “little black book” with contacts, including the names and phone numbers of alleged victims, as additional evidence.

It is also possible that the government will present video footage from the extensive CCTV systems Epstein installed in his home.

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‘I can not see her giving herself black eyes’

Epstein’s web

Maxwell’s lawsuit is awaited a lot, not only because the alleged victims have been waiting for decades for justice, but because of the web of high-society contacts she and Epstein boasted about in the fashion world, politics, business and royalty.

The couple was close to Prince Andrew and Donald Trump. In a 2003 magazine profile, Trump infamously said of Epstein, “He likes beautiful women just as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

Epstein had connections to Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and Lex Wexner, the owner of the Victoria’s Secret fashion chain.

Barclays CEO Jes Staley, resigned from the company earlier this month due to his contacts with the financier.

Some argue that the fact that the defendant is a woman is also significant.

“Given where we are at the moment with the #MeToo movement, this is the first time you’ve had a woman so publicly prosecuted for this kind of crime,” said Vicky Ward, the investigative journalist who first met Maxwell in 1990. ‘erne.

Regardless of the verdict in this lawsuit, it may not be the last to involve Epstein’s employees. Many civil cases are also pending between different parties related to the saga.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial will certainly provide answers, but it is unlikely to solve all the mysteries surrounding the case. The Epstein / Maxwell puzzle is far from complete.

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