Watch live outside courthouse as Ghislaine Maxwell trial begins
The six-week trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has begun in New York City. Opening arguments were heard on Monday afternoon the much-awaited case afternoon, following a delay due to issues with two members of the jury.
After being sworn in, US District Judge Alison Nathan reminded the jury that they must decide the case solely on the evidence provided in the courtroom.
Sarah Ransome — one of several women to have accused Epstein and Ms Maxwell of abuse — was seen arriving at the courthouse on Monday morning. She told reporters: “I never thought this day would come.”
Ms Maxwell, who spent decades rubbing shoulders with British royals and US presidents, is accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for the late disgraced financier to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.
In July 2020, she was tracked down by the FBI and arrested after she was charged with enticing a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity and several other related counts.
While Epstein died by suicide in federal custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, awaiting his own trial, Ms Maxwell’s hearings are expected to reveal new details about the case.
The daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, Ms Maxwell faces the prospect of up to 35 years of jail if she is found guilty.
What exactly was Epstein’s island?
The first witness to testify at the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was the pilot of Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet, which flew to his various properties in Manhattan, Palm Beach, New Mexico and Paris. It also included his infamous island estate in the Virgin Islands.
The Independent’s Io Dodds takes a closer look at what, exactly, the deal is with Epstein’s island estate.
Justin Vallejo30 November 2021 03:00
Ghislaine Maxwell’s brother says US prosecutors seeking to ‘break’ her
The brother of a British socialite charged with helping Jeffrey Epstein exploit underage girls says her prosecution is “the most over-hyped trial of the century,” designed to break a woman targeted by authorities desperate to blame someone for the late financier’s crimes.
Ghislaine Maxwell continues to have the backing of her family, and a family member will be in court at all times to show support, Ian Maxwell said in an interview ahead of the trial.
“This is designed to break her; I can’t see any other way to read it. … And she will not be broken because she believes completely in her innocence and she is going to give the best account she can.”
Maxwell says his sister is being blamed by U.S. authorities who are intent on holding someone responsible for Epstein’s crimes.
“The authorities are feeling under pressure … because they lost (Epstein) and they’re feeling under the public’s pressure, and that combination of pressure is keeping Ghislaine inside,” he said. “But it still doesn’t make it right.” – Associated Press
Justin Vallejo30 November 2021 02:00
How did Ghislaine Maxwell meet Jeffrey Epstein?
Part of the defence’s strategy for Ghislain Maxwell was to shift the blame to Jeffrey Epstein, saying she was being made a scapegoat because his death led her accusers unable to seek justice.
Before meeting Epstein, Maxwell spent decades rubbing shoulders with British royals and US presidents. Now faces decades behind bars if convicted of sex trafficking charges.
The Independent’s Graeme Massie traces the pair’s relationship back to 1991, when the daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell was introduced to the former physics teacher through a mutual friend.
Justin Vallejo30 November 2021 01:00
Spectre of Jeffrey Epstein looms large over socialite’s trial
The spectre of Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide only a few hundred yards from where the trial is taking place in a cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in August 2019, loomed large over the opening arguments on Monday, writes The Independent’s Bevan Hurley.
“The defendant and Epstein,” was a phrase uttered more than a dozen times during Ms Pomerantz’s 30-minute opening statement, as she wove a tale of depravity and manipulation executed by two apparently equal partners.”
Justin Vallejo30 November 2021 00:00
Who are the alleged victims testifying at the Maxwell trial?
The prosecution will put four alleged victims on the stand, identified only as Minor Victim 1, Minor Victim 2, Minor Victim 3 and Minor Victim 4.
The prosecution began their opening argument with the line, “I want to tell you about a young girl named Jane”, referencing the anonymous Jane Doe pseudonym.
Here’s what we know from court documents about the alleged victims:
Minor Victim 1 was about 14 when she was abused by Epstein at his homes in New York and Florida. Maxwell is alleged to have involved the girl in “sexualized massages” on Epstein.
Minor Victim 2was allegedly abused at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch in 1996. Maxwell is alleged to have given an unsolicited topless massage to the girl, and encouraged her to massage Epstein.
Minor Victim 3 was 17, and over the age of consent, when she was allegedly introduced to Epstein in London. Maxwell is alleged to have encouraged her to perform sexualized massages on Epstein in 1994 and 1995.
Minor Victim 4 was 14 when she was allegedly recruited to give Epstein sexualized massages at his Palm Beach mansion between 2001 and 2004. She is also alleged to have recruited younger women for Epstein at Maxwell’s request.
Justin Vallejo29 November 2021 23:30
Oliver O’Connell29 November 2021 23:05
Attorney Lisa Bloom calls defence opening statement ‘appalling, fawning love letter’ to Epstein
Lisa Bloom, the attorney known for advising Harvey Weinstein and the representing attorney to one of the accusers of Ghislaine Maxwell, responded to the defence team’s opening statement on Twitter.
“BREAKING: Just heard defence opening statement here at Ghislaine Maxwell trial,” she wrote. “An appalling, fawning love letter to Jeffrey Epstein, a ‘charming’ ‘21st century James Bond’.”
“Bond fights the bad guys. Epstein WAS the bad guy,” she added.
“Are you as surprised as I am by this strategy?”
Oliver O’Connell29 November 2021 22:46
Oliver O’Connell29 November 2021 22:28
Jury excused for the day
True to her word, Judge Nathan has brought proceedings today to a close at 5pm sharp and the jury has been excused.
Witness testimony and examination will continue tomorrow morning.
Oliver O’Connell29 November 2021 22:06
Larry Visoski is asked about how often he flew Epstein and to where. He responds that it was roughly every four days, and destinations included all of Epstein’s homes in Palm Beach, Santa Fe, New York, and St Thomas in the Caribbean, near where his private island Little St James was located.
Having identified Ms Maxwell in court, he was asked about their relationship, which he described as more personal than business, estimates went on into the 2000s, and says was not romantic, but “more couple-ish”.
Oliver O’Connell29 November 2021 21:51