Ghislaine Maxwell’s child sex trafficking trial began in New York on Monday.
Maxwell is a British socialite who was the former girlfriend of the late convicted paedophile and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. She is accused of being Epstein’s “chief enabler” in sex abuses and child sex trafficking, as well as a groomer for young girls for Epstein and his friends to abuse.
The charges filed against Maxwell come from allegations from four women, who have accused both Maxwell and Epstein of abusing them for a decade from 1994 to 2004.
In the first day of the court case, a prosecutor said that Maxwell and Epstein were quite literally “partners in crime”. Maxwell was described as a central part of Epstein’s sex abuse and sexual assault rings, and that she was involved in everything that Epstein did.
But according to the defense lawyers, Maxwell was merely a scapegoat for Epstein’s crimes.
The Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz said that Maxwell and Epstein together enticed girls, some of which were as young as 14, to participate in “massages”, in which sex abuse was introduced as being “casual” or “normal,” and victims were given gifts and money.
The prosecution said that together, Epstein and Maxwell would lure in potential victims by promising bright futures, money, and gifts, and then sexually exploit them.
Furthermore, prosecutors said that Maxwell was responsible for normalizing sexual abuse and sexual abusers. Maxwell would groom the young victims, taking them to shop and engaging in their lives, in order to appear as a friend to them.
Four women are expected to testify that Maxwell recruited them. The defense looked to blame the victims, saying that they had “shaken the money tree”.
The abuse allegedly took place in multiple of Epstein’s homes, including estates in Palm Beach, Manhattan, Santa Fe, Paris, and the Virgin Islands.
Maxwell was first charged in July 2020, when she was arrested after she was tracked down to a $1 million estate in New Hampshire, where she had been hiding out through the Covid pandemic. She has pleaded not guilty.
Maxwell’s trial will last for six weeks.
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