No less than 35 witnesses could be called to try to convince the jury of the Manhattan federal court that the ex-socialite played no criminal role with the wealthy Jeffrey Epstein.
Ghislaine Maxwell, 59 – British, American and French and daughter of press magnate Robert Maxwell – has been on trial since November 29, accused of providing her former companion and collaborator, Epstein, with underage girls so that he exploits them sexually.
The one who is criticized for being a
reel has been detained in New York since her arrest in the summer of 2020 – a year after the financier’s suicide in prison, which deprived dozens of victims of trial. She pleads not guilty to all counts, for which she faces life imprisonment.
She has not expressed herself once at her trial, where she seems rather at ease, in particular by exchanging with her lawyers.
The latter should have a psychologist specializing in
truncated memories, Elizabeth Loftus, to stress that victims’ testimonies are a quarter of a century old and likely to be inaccurate.
Some relationships lasted for years
The incriminated facts date back to the period 1994-2004. Four women –
Carolyn and Annie Farmer, 42, the only one to speak without a pseudonym – recounted their lives damaged by forced sex with Epstein, when they were minors and often in the presence of Ghislaine Maxwell.
Annie Farmer told the same scenario as the three other victims: a first warm meeting with Maxwell who proposed to these girls aged 14 to 17, fragile and penniless, to meet Epstein under the pretext of helping them financially.
After an initial invitation to Epstein’s villa in Palm Beach, Florida, New Mexico or New York, the young girls were encouraged by Maxwell to undress, then to give Epstein massages which ended irreparably with sexual acts.
Relationships have for some lasted years with the Epstein-Maxwell couple and one of the witnesses said that she was paid $ 300 for each act of sex.
Prince Andrew targeted by complaint
The main argument of Maxwell’s lawyers is that their client is appearing only because the real culprit, Jeffrey Epstein, committed suicide in prison in the summer of 2019, aged 66.
The multimillionaire was convicted in Florida in 2008 for paying young girls for massages. But he had only served 13 months in prison following a confidential agreement with the prosecutor at the time.
Another shadow hangs over the Maxwell trial: that of British Prince Andrew, a close friend of Epstein, the target since August of a civil complaint in New York for
sexual assault filed by an American, Virginia Giuffre.
This complaint should be examined at the end of 2022 even if the second son of Queen Elizabeth II is not prosecuted in criminal proceedings and denies these facts which would have taken place between 2000 and 2002, when Virginia Giuffre was a minor.