NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Ghislaine Maxwell turned 60 behind bars on Saturday as she awaited the outcome of a sex trafficking trial.
The British socialite is slated to return to the Manhattan courthouse on Monday to await a jury report and a third full day of negotiations will begin. after hearing more than two dozen witnesses and viewing dozens of exhibits for three weeks.
Messages sent to her lawyer and a website that regularly posts material expressing support for Maxwell were not returned on Saturday.
Prosecutors said in their closing arguments last Monday that the decisive evidence came from the testimony of four women who said they were sexually abused as a teenager by financier Jeffrey Epstein with the help of Maxwell when she was his girlfriend and later when she turned into his close friend and girlfriend. an employee who was highly regarded, he gave her over $ 20 million.
Prosecutors called her the “mistress of the house” from 1994 to 2004, claiming that she recruited and looked after teenagers as young as 14 to satisfy Epstein’s seemingly insatiable need for touching vulnerable girls from poor and desperate families or who were counting on to his statements. wealth and connections to assist them in their pursuit of success and glory in the performing arts.
However, defense lawyers say she became the US government’s scapegoat after Epstein committed suicide in Manhattan federal prison, where he was awaiting his own trial for trafficking in persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation in August 2019. They said that the memories of her accusers were distorted over time and the influence of lawyers is directing them to multi-million dollar payments from a fund set up to compensate the victims of Epstein.
A jury has already asked to reconsider the testimony of the four women, along with Epstein’s former housekeeper Juan Patricio Alessi, but they hinted little at their overall progress on the six charges, including the trafficking charge for sexual exploitation, which carries a potential penalty of up to 40 years in prison.
Alessi testified that when he worked at Epstein’s sprawling Florida home from 1990 to 2002, he saw “many, many, many” female visitors, who appeared to be in their early 20s, often lounging topless by the pool. He also testified that the two prosecutors, then teenagers, had visited Epstein’s mansion on several occasions.
Every day of deliberation without a verdict seems to reinforce the defense team, which realizes that quick verdicts almost always favor the government and that lengthy deliberations can sometimes indicate disagreement or confusion among the jury.
On Wednesday, the two lawyers gave each other a five.
Discussions are taking place at a time when a wave of coronavirus infections caused by the omicron variant is sweeping through New York State, especially where the jury lives. Concerns about proliferation became apparent when US District Judge Alison J. Nathan asked a jury to sit on Thursday. They refused.
When she sent them on Wednesday for a long holiday weekend, she informed them that new protocols would be adopted at the courthouse on Monday to tackle the coronavirus, including requiring them to wear the most protective masks. And she offered to give them masks to protect herself and others over the weekend.
“Please stay safe over the long weekend. Obviously, we have an option, and I need you all to be here and healthy on Monday, ”Nathan said. “So please be careful and be careful.”