NEW YORK – Ghislaine Maxwell celebrated her 60th birthday behind bars on Saturday as she awaits the outcome of her sex trafficking trial.
The British social media site is scheduled to return to a Manhattan courthouse on Monday to await a grand jury announcement entering the third day of negotiations after hearing more than two dozen witnesses and viewing dozens. artifacts for three weeks.
Messages sent to her attorney and a website that regularly posts articles of support for Maxwell were not returned Saturday.
Prosecutors said in their final arguments last Monday that key evidence was the testimony of four women who said they were sexually abused as minors by the financier. Jeffrey Epstein himself with Maxwell’s help when she was his girlfriend, and later when she became his close friend and employee so highly regarded that he gave her That’s more than 20 million US dollars.
Prosecutors called her “the lady of the family” from 1994 to 2004, saying she recruited and groomed teenagers as young as 14 to satisfy Epstein’s seemingly insatiable need to be felt. by vulnerable girls from poor and desperate backgrounds or those who believe in his claims. wealth and relationships to assist them in their search for success and fame in the performing arts.
However, defense attorneys say she was a scapegoat to the US government after Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan federal jail cell where he was awaiting trial on his own sex trafficking charges in August. 2019. They say the memories of her accusers have been damaged over time, and the influence of lawyers directing them toward multi-million-dollar payments from a fund set up to compensate her Epstein’s victims.
The jury was asked to consider the testimony of four women, along with Epstein’s former housekeeper, Juan Patricio Alessi, but they offered little hint of their overall progress on the six counts, includes sex trafficking offenses that carry a 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” female tourists, apparently in their late 20s, often topless ceiling stretched by the pool. He also testified that the two accusers, who were underage at the time, were repeated visitors to the Epstein mansion.
Each day of deliberation without a verdict seems to motivate the defense team, who are aware that quick decisions are almost always in the government’s favor and that protracted discussions can sometimes reveal disagreement. or confusion among jurors.
On Wednesday, the two lawyers defended each other a high point.
The deliberations are underway as a wave of coronavirus infections fueled by the omicron variant sweeps through New York state, particularly severe where jurors live. The widespread anxiety was evident when U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan asked jurors to weigh in on Thursday. They refused.
When she took them away on Wednesday for the long holiday weekend, she told them there would be new court protocols on Monday to combat the coronavirus, including a requirement that masks be worn. most protection. And she offers to give them masks to protect themselves and others through the weekend.
“Stay safe over the long weekend. Obviously we’ve got the version, and I need you all to be here and healthy on Monday,” Nathan said. “So please take good care and be careful.”