NEW YORK (AP) – Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein were “partners in crime” in the sexual abuse of teenage girls, a prosecutor said in opening statements Monday, with defense saying that like many women before him, Maxwell was convicted of a crime. was being made a scapegoat for the bad behavior of a man.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz said at the start of Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial that the British socialite and Epstein entice girls as young as 14 to engage in “so-called massage”, describing the sexual abuse as “accidental and normal”. came to be seen as Money and gifts were showered on them.
The prosecutor sought to clarify to a jury of 12 that there was no confusion about whether Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime partner, belonged to him. Puppet or companion.
They described 59-year-old Maxwell as the center of Epstein’s sexual abuse scheme, which prosecutors say lasted more than a decade.
“She was in it from the start. Defendants and Epstein lured their victims with the promise of a bright future, only to sexually abuse them,” Pomerantz said.
The prosecutor said, Maxwell was “involved in every detail of Epstein’s life.” “The defendant was the lady of the household.”
Even after Maxwell and Epstein became romantically involved, the pair “remained best friends,” Pomerantz said.
She said that Maxwell “helped to normalize abusive sexual conduct” by making teens feel safe and by taking them on shopping trips and asking about their lives, their schools and their families.
The prosecutor spoke to an attached plastic see-through box that allowed him to take off his mask as Maxwell in a cream-colored sweater and black pants, occasionally writing to his lawyers and giving notes.
When she finished, attorney Bobby Sternheim said her client was “a scapegoat for someone who misbehaved.” That said, Maxwell was being blamed for a man’s bad behavior, as did many women before, up to Adam and Eve.
“He’s not Jeffrey Epstein. He’s not like Jeffrey Epstein” or any of the powerful men, moguls and media giants who abuse women, Sternheim said.
“He is the proverbial elephant in the room. He is not visible, but he is consuming this entire courtroom and overflowing courtroom, where other members of the public are watching,” she said.
Sternheim said the four women who will testify that Maxwell recruited her for sexual abuse were haunted by quarter-century nostalgia and the influence of lawyers who, after her suicide in August 2019, collected funds from a fund set up by Epstein’s estate. Guided them to get money. As a Manhattan federal prisoner he was awaiting a sex trafficking trial.
“The accusers have shaken up the money tree, and millions of dollars have fallen,” the lawyer said.
The inauguration came in the afternoon, after the morning hours were lost in response to questions about whether the two potential jurors could work the full six weeks the trial is projected to run.
During the morning, Maxwell would frequently see his sister, who was seated in the front row of a low audience in the space due to coronavirus restrictions.
A potential juror was fired after admitting that he would have to listen to someone he knew who was “passionate” about the case. Another juror’s employment was at risk until the judge contacted the employer to speed up the process of approval for the juror’s service.
Maxwell – who once dated a financier – is accused of acting as a main supporter of Epstein, Recruiting and grooming young girls to abuse him. The charges against him stem from allegations from four women who he and Epstein say victimized him as teenagers from 1994 to 2004.
Pomerantz said the abuse occurred at Epstein’s homes, including his property in Palm Beach, Florida; their posh Manhattan townhouse; a Santa Fe, New Mexico, ranch; a Paris apartment; and a luxury property in the Virgin Islands.
Officers charged Maxwell in July 2020, arresting him after tracking him down to a $1 million New Hampshire estate where he was holed up during the coronavirus pandemic.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing. He has been jailed in Brooklyn since his arrest, calling the claims against him “absolutely rubbish.” Maxwell’s lawyer And the family says he was Epstein’s pawn, is now paying “the price of blood” To satisfy the public desire to see someone held accountable for his crimes.
The wealthy, Oxford-educated Maxwell is the daughter of British newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 after falling from his yacht named Lady Ghislaine – near the Canary Islands. Robert Maxwell, whose holdings at the time included the New York Daily News, was facing allegations that he had illegally laundered the pension funds of his businesses.
Ghislaine Maxwell holds American, British and French citizenships and was repeatedly denied bail during her trial.