By Lauren del Valle and Eric Levenson, CNN
(CNN) – Jurors in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial are scheduled to begin their second full day of deliberations Wednesday in a federal courtroom in New York City.
Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime partner of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has pleaded not guilty to six federal counts, including sex trafficking a minor, instigating a minor to indulge unlawful sexual acts, transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three related counts of conspiracy.
If convicted on all six counts, the 59-year-old faces up to 70 years in prison.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour on Monday and about eight hours on Tuesday. During deliberations, they asked the court three questions related to the testimony of the women who form the heart of the case against Maxwell.
First, jurors asked the judge for transcripts of testimony from Annie Farmer, Carolyn and “Jane” – three of the four women who testified to being sexually assaulted by Epstein and whom Maxwell facilitated and sometimes participated in. abuse.
The jury also requested FBI notes from a 2007 interview with Carolyn which the defense said is inconsistent with her testimony in court. The FBI notes are not in evidence, but some excerpts were read from the file during his cross-examination.
Further, the jury asked if they could consider Farmer’s testimony on two of the conspiracy counts. Judge Alison Nathan said jurors could do it.
The deliberations crown a three-week trial highlighted by the testimony of the four women, who said Maxwell recruited and groomed them to be sexually assaulted by Epstein. The abuse allegedly occurred when they were under 18 and their charges ran from 1994 to 2004.
Prosecutors have sought to bind Maxwell and Epstein closely and said his actions were crucial to his abuse plan. The defense focused its argument on lengthy cross-examinations of the four accusers and attacked their motives and recollections of the alleged incidents. Maxwell declined to testify in his own defense.
Farmer, the only accuser to testify by full name, said she was 16 when Maxwell massaged her bare chest at Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico in 1996.
Carolyn testified that at the age of 14, Maxwell touched her breasts, hips and buttocks and told her that she “had a great body for Epstein and his friends.” The count of child sex trafficking – the most serious of all the charges – relates to his testimony.
“Jane,” testifying under a pseudonym, said Maxwell arranged for sex massages with Epstein and at times joined in the abuse. The counts of attraction and transportation relate to testimony from her alone.
The fourth accuser, “Kate,” said Maxwell invited her over and instructed her on how to give Epstein a sex massage. She said Maxwell often talked about sexual matters with her and asked Kate to invite other young girls over for Epstein’s sexual desires.
Epstein, an elusive financier who pleaded guilty in 2008 to prostitution charges, was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019 but died by suicide in prison a month later. Maxwell was arrested in 2020 and has been held behind bars under tight surveillance ever since.
What happened at the trial
In their final argument, the prosecution said Maxwell’s close relationship with Epstein and manipulative actions were key to the international program of abuse at his properties in New York City, Florida, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands. American.
“A middle-aged, single man who invites a teenage girl to visit his ranch, to come over to his house, to fly to New York, is scary,” prosecutor Allison Moe told jurors. “But when this man is accompanied by a chic, smiling, respectable, age-appropriate woman, that’s when it all starts to feel legitimate.
“And when this woman encourages these girls to massage this man, when she acts like it’s just okay for the man to touch these girls, it lures them into a trap. It allows the man to silence the woman. alarm bell.”
In defense argument, lawyer Laura Menninger sought to keep Maxwell away from Epstein and suggested he had manipulated her as well. She said the prosecution case was based on speculation and embarrassing photos of Maxwell with Epstein, several of which show her massaging his feet.
“She is on trial here for being with Jeffrey Epstein, and it was perhaps the biggest mistake of her life, but it was not a crime,” Menninger told the jury.
Menninger also reviewed each accuser’s testimony and highlighted inconsistencies in their schedules and previous interviews with law enforcement in which two of the victims, Carolyn and “Jane,” did not mention Maxwell. .
The lawyer suggested that they had poor recollection of what had happened and said they may have changed their stories for money.
“Why would you go decades without mentioning Ghislaine Maxwell and suddenly, when you have your personal injury lawyer, you add her to the mix?” Menninger said.
Prosecutor Maurene Comey dismissed these arguments in a rebuttal that hinted at broader societal and economic forces at play in this case.
“The accused never thought that these teenage girls would have the strength to report what had happened. In her eyes, they were just rubbish under her,” she said. “These girls would never resist a powerful couple like Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. And if they did, who would believe them?”
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