Defence to make case that Ghislaine Maxwell is taking fall for Epstein’s crimes

Ghislaine Maxwell to be released on bail; PA News
Ghislaine Maxwell

Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell are expected to start making their case that the British socialite is not to blame for Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes.

A New York City jury has heard four women detail accusations that they were teenagers when they became victims of a sex abuse scheme devised by Maxwell and Epstein.

Maxwell’s trial will resume on Thursday with the defence calling its own witnesses in federal court in Manhattan.

The government’s case lasted only two weeks and the defence case could take just two days. Both sides streamlined their witness lists without revealing why, meaning the trial should end well short of an original six-week estimate.

The start of the defence case has sparked speculation about whether the high-profile defendant will give evidence in her own defence — a gamble that is almost never taken.

Either way, US District Judge Alison Nathan will have to receive direct confirmation from Maxwell about her decision before the defence can rest.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to charges she acted as Epstein’s chief enabler, recruiting and grooming young girls for him to abuse.

She was once Epstein’s girlfriend before becoming a trusted employee.

Witnesses said the pair exploited them between 1994 and 2004 at Epstein’s homes, including an estate in Palm Beach, Florida, his Manhattan townhouse, and a ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The defence has insisted that Maxwell is being made a scapegoat for alleged sex crimes by Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019.

Her lawyers have sought to show that the accusers exaggerated her involvement at the behest of lawyers seeking payouts for the women from civil claims against the Epstein estate.

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