The jury for Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex abuse trial began deliberations on Monday, who will decide whether Maxwell recruited underage girls to be sexually abused and trafficked by disgraced financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Is Maxwell a predator? Or an “innocent woman”? The prosecutors and defense painted two different stories.
The case was given to the jury just before 5 p.m. Monday, following six hours of closing arguments by two prosecutors and a defense lawyer. The initial deliberations lasted an hour on Monday, and the jury will return to weigh in on the case first thing Tuesday.
Assistant U.S. attorney Alison Moe told the jury in her closing argument statements that it was “crystal clear” that Maxwell very much knew about what was happening with Epstein’s sex trafficking and sexual abuse of children, and that she was deeply involved.
Her closing remarks were part of the prosecution’s efforts to tie together the government’s evidence. Moe said that Maxwell made her own choices, and was furthermore, the key to the whole operation.
Maxwell’s lawyers suggested that she was being blamed for things that she did not do. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey called this a laughable argument.
Four women who allege they were abused by Epstein and his associates took the stand during the three weeks of the trial. The women said they were abused when they were teenagers. Their recollections of abuse by both Epstein as well as Maxwell gave damaging testimony, describing in great detail how they were enticed and groomed by Maxwell, and ultimately, served up to Epstein for sexual abuse.
Two dozen prosecution witnesses took the stand to testify, including the four women. The defense presented nine witnesses.
The defense tried to insert distance between Maxwell and Epstein, but the prosecution described Maxwell very much as Epstein’s partner in crime and in life.