Ghislaine Maxwell’s anticipated trial starts Monday. The British socialite, accused of being disgraced financier’s Jeffrey Epstein madam, faces six criminal counts and could spend up to 70 years in prison if convicted.
Maxwell, 59, is accused of helping “to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse” four teenage girls for sexual acts with Epstein from 1994 to 2004 at his Manhattan home; his estate in Palm Beach, Florida; his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Maxwell’s home in London. The British socialite, the daughter of disgraced media titan Robert Maxwell, will be brought from the Brooklyn federal prison Metropolitan Detention Center, where she is being housed, to the Manhattan federal courthouse every day.
The four accusers are expected to take the stand. The alleged victims and other witnesses will be remaining anonymous, and some will be testifying under a pseudonym. “Minor victim 1” will tell the jurors how she met Maxwell at “approximately 14 years old” and how Maxwell attempted to befriend her, taking her to the movies and on shopping trips, but also then sought to “normalize inappropriate and abusive” behavior by, for example, undressing in front of her and being present when the minor was undressed in front of Epstein. She will tell how Maxwell was not only present but also involved in some of Epstein’s sexual abuse.
The other three alleged victims will all talk about being befriended by Maxwell and being encouraged by her to perform sexual massages on Epstein. “Minor victim 4” will also tell how she was paid “hundreds of dollars in cash” directly by Maxwell for providing Epstein with sexualized massages.
Prosecutors will also showcase Maxwell’s intimate relationship with Epstein, including showing the jurors a picture of the pair swimming nude together. The government will also try to prove that she was paid by Epstein to “manage his various properties.”
The feds arrested Maxwell on July 2, 2020, at a mansion in New Hampshire where she had been living. She has been behind bars ever since after pleading “not guilty” and being denied bail six times, including twice by an appeals court. Her trial has been delayed due to the pandemic and its logistics will still be challenging. The court is keeping the jurors socially distanced as well as the public in attendance. The witnesses will be seated next to the judge but behind a plexiglass guard. Attorneys will also be behind a plexiglass guard when questioning the witnesses. Maxwell will be seated at the defense table next to her attorneys.
Before the parties get to opening statements, jury selection will have to be concluded so that judge Alison Nathan can then seat the jury, a group of 12 and 6 alternates, and instruct them on the law.
At least some of Maxwell’s and Epstein’s victims are expected to attend. Some of Maxwell’s family members and friends are also expected to attend, namely her sister Isabel Maxwell, who has been in the courtroom every day for jury selection.
Epstein died by suicide in prison while awaiting his trial on sex trafficking charges in 2019. His former girlfriend has maintained that she has “not committed any crime” and that she is being prosecuted by proxy.
The trial is expected to last about six weeks. Regardless of the outcome, Maxwell will still face another trial after this for two counts of perjury that the judge previously agreed to separate at the defense’s request.