Prosecutors rested their case against Ghislaine Maxwell last week. Defense team presents today.
What have we learned so far?
Initially, the case was to last six weeks but now, it could end in half that time.
Leading up to Ghislaine Maxwell’s current six count sex trafficking criminal trial in New York’s federal court these past two weeks, international media interests were heightened about the Maxwell/Jeffrey Epstein protracted sordid saga spanning at least three decades.
Expectations ran high. U.S. federal prosecutors were finally going to brush the paint on the canvas to create the truthful portrait about the mysteries and unanswered questions surrounding the alleged international sex trafficking criminal enterprise.
For years, Maxwell was painted as a wealthy, witty, charming, socially aggressive, self-promoting, well-educated, earthy British heiress, although her late Father left his family in disgrace and financial tatters. Epstein allegedly picked up her life after her Father’s disgrace in the UK leaving two of her brothers facing criminal allegations. The drama was high. Later, her brother were found innocent, but the facts were real. Maxwell’s family was affected financially and negatively so.
Today, Maxwell is reduced to the former paramour and best friend as alleged pimp and madam of Epstein, a wealthy Tier 3 registered sex offender.
Victim after victim for years claimed that, but for Maxwell, none of Epstein sexual crimes could have spanned from New York to Michigan, Florida, Caribbean, New Mexico and across Europe but for Ghislaine Maxwell.
The hype set the stage for the “trial of the century.”
The expectations were high hoping the Maxwell prosecution team would unravel the mystery of Jeffrey Epstein’s origin of wealth, and answer questions that would finally answered questions about the stash of CDs and photos confiscated by the FBI from Epstein’s New York mansion the night Epstein was arrested in July 2019.
The public would learn what was confiscated years earlier when Epstein’s Palm Beach residence was raided before his first arrest over a decade ago.
The public would learn the names of the those who allegedly partook in the Epstein and Maxwell alleged sex trafficking enterprise.
Witnesses would provide clarity about Maxwell’s involvement. Witnesses were to testify that it was Maxwell’s grooming that led these victims to sexual slaughter causing pain, humiliation, ruined dreams and ambitions.
For years, reporters, lawyers, and victims poured over thousands of pages of court pleadings, police files, and depositions reading how Epstein took the fifth to bury his complicity while Maxwell asserted her innocence in her deposition in the defamation case filed against her by Virginia Robert Guiffre in 2015. That case was settled in 2017.
Epstein’s death in August 2019 led to victims testifying that they felt ripped off by not getting their day in court facing Epstein.
Maxwell’s trial now was expected to give victims some closure.
But, the prosecution rested its case after only two weeks although the case was expected to last six weeks.
On the cusp of the defense starting today – what have we learned?
For years, we have learned of Epstein settling undisclosed claims with those who filed suits against him while he was alive.
One of his attorneys involved in his early defense told this journalist that it was Epstein who pulled the strings on earlier civil settlements.
Since Epstein’s 2019 death, his estate lawyers created a victims’ compensation fund.
Going into Maxwell’s criminal trial, it has been reported that 125 additional claims were settled collectively for $135 million. What is unclear is whether that includes administrative fees as well as compensation to those victims who filed.
Epstein’s estate has been estimated to be approximately over $550,000,000.
The largess of these compensations were not fully disclosed during the trial. Some were individually, but not all. It seemed the defense wanted to portray that anyone who took the stand for the prosecution who had been paid by the victims’ fund only took the stand for money.
A clever tactic, but raisies the question –
Why should a victim be denied a compensation for vile sexual behavior recognized by a dead man’s estate and fully reviewed by an independent team be questioned?
The prosecution successively portrayed Epstein’s wealth with testimony and evidence of his residences and private planes. Epstein’s pilots attested to those residences with details and prosecutors provided pictures to the jury.
Four alleged victims testified. Three were anonymous and one was identified as Marie Farmer. Two were underage when they were allegedly sexually abused and molested. Two were not underage because of their jurisdictions, but offered corroborating evidence of Maxwell’s presence.
Maxwell’s defense team is expected to play further hardball defense tactics.
Thirty-five witnesses are expected to testify. Some of those who have been subpoenaed are those who represented victims for the prosecution.
Could this trial turn into Maxwell defense lawyers blaming Epstein victims’ lawyers for Maxwell’s prosecution?
If so, this criminal trial may end up being lawyers v. lawyers, which throws a new twist into representing trafficking victims – the likes of which the anti-human trafficking has never seen in the last 22 years I’ve witnessed globally.
Christine Dolan has covered human trafficking for nearly 22 years in 140 countries – on the street and over the internet and all faces of human trafficking, including, but not limited to labor, sex, sex tourism, ritual abuse torture, child soldiers, internet trafficking. institutional trafficking, corporate trafficking, medicinal trafficking, the NGOs involved in anti-trafficking efforts, as well as those falsely accused of human trafficking.