The News-Times

Ghislaine Maxwell jury begins deliberati­ons


NEW YORK — A jury began deliberati­ons Monday, tasked with considerin­g whether Ghislaine Maxwell is a dangerous predator who recruited teens to be sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein — as prosecutor­s put it — or the “innocent woman” a defense attorney described.

The jury received the case just before 5 p.m. after two prosecutor­s and a defense lawyer delivered their closing arguments over a six-hour period.

Maxwell, 59, had been composed, if not cheerful, as she interacted with her lawyers and family members for the first three weeks of the trial. But she seemed emotional as Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey rebutted defense arguments and asserted the British socialite believed her four trial accusers were beneath her.

“In her eyes, they were just trash,” Comey said as Maxwell shook her head slightly and then drooped her eyes.

Earlier, she had wiped her eyes twice as Comey attacked defense portrayals of the women who testified about abuse. The prosecutor said Maxwell played a pivotal role in Epstein’s quest to sexually abuse teenage girls.

Defense lawyer Laura Menninger had argued that the women’s recollecti­ons of abuse by Epstein and Maxwell were flawed memories manipulate­d two decades or more later by civil lawyers seeking payouts or U.S. government investigat­ors seeking a scapegoat after Epstein killed himself in a federal jail in 2019 while he awaited his own sex traffickin­g trial.

Comey called a defense claim that Maxwell didn’t know about abuse that occurred for more than a decade a “laughable argument.”

“Those four witnesses gave you the most damaging testimony in this trial,” she said. “These women put themselves through the hell of testifying at this trial even though they have nothing to gain.”

Comey added: “They did it for justice.”

The prosecutor started her remarks by disputing a claim by the defense that nearly all the evidence pertained to Epstein, and Maxwell did not deserve to be blamed as an conspirato­r in his crimes.

“This case is about that woman,” Comey said, pointing at Maxwell, who sat at the defense table in a white sweater as four of her siblings watched from the first bench of spectators in a courtroom where everyone followed spacing rules dictated by the coronaviru­s.

Earlier, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe called Maxwell the “lady of the house” when Epstein abused girls at a New York mansion, a Florida estate and a New Mexico ranch.

“Ghislaine Maxwell was dangerous,” Moe said. She cited over $30 million that Maxwell received from Epstein over the years. “Maxwell and Epstein committed horrifying crimes.”

Menninger, though, said prosecutor­s had failed to prove any charges beyond a reasonable doubt: “Ghislaine Maxwell is an innocent woman, wrongfully accused of crimes she did not commit.“

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