Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial begins Monday. Prosecutors allege she created a network of underage victims for the late Jeffrey Epstein


The public will get a glimpse into the life of the late Jeffrey Epstein as the sex-trafficking trial of his longtime companion Ghislaine Maxwell gets underway.

Opening statements are expected to begin Monday after a jury is empaneled.

Federal prosecutors allege the British socialite created a network of underage victims for Epstein to sexually exploit.

Maxwell was first charged in July 2020 with enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity for allegedly grooming and recruiting underage girls from 1994 through 1997.

Prosecutors later added two sex-trafficking charges, alleging that Maxwell interacted with a 14-year-old girl on multiple occasions in Palm Beach, Florida, and encouraged and enticed her to recruit other girls to perform “sexualized massages” on Epstein despite knowing she was under 18.

Maxwell has vigorously denied any wrongdoing, telling the court at a recent hearing, “I have not committed any crimes.”

She faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted on all six counts.

Maxwell allegedly helped Epstein run a sex-trafficking enterprise

Maxwell was arrested nearly one year after Epstein was arrested on charges in connection to allegations that he ran a sex-trafficking enterprise at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach from 2002 to 2005. That indictment alleged Epstein worked with employees and associates to lure the girls to his residences and paid some of his victims to recruit other girls for him to abuse.

Epstein was found dead in his prison cell shortly after his arrest in 2019. The medical examiner later determined the cause of death to be suicide by hanging.

He was a convicted registered sex offender after he pleaded guilty to two state prostitution charges in 2008.

Maxwell, a once very public socialite known for jet-setting with Epstein and other high-profile figures like Prince Andrew and former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, seemingly fell off-the-grid after Epstein was arrested as he disembarked a flight from Paris in July 2019.

Alleged victims to testify at trial

The four alleged victims in the case are identified in the indictment as Minor Victims 1 through 4.

Maxwell was present and involved in some of the abuse alleged by Minor Victim-1, court documents say. That victim allegedly first met Maxwell when she was approximately 14 years old and was sexually abused by Epstein at his properties in New York and Florida, according to the indictment.

Maxwell “involved” the girl in group “sexualized massages” on Epstein, undressing in front of the girl and was present when Minor Victim-1 undressed in front of Epstein, the indictment says.

Minor Victim-2 traveled to New Mexico in 1996 where Epstein allegedly abused her at his ranch.

Maxwell allegedly groomed Minor Victim-2, giving her an unsolicited massage while she was topless. Maxwell also encouraged Minor Victim-2 to massage Epstein, according to the indictment.

Judge Alison Nathan ruled ahead of the trial that jurors would be instructed that they cannot convict Maxwell based on testimony regarding the sexual conduct between Epstein and a woman identified in the indictment as Minor Victim-3 because she was 17 at the time and therefore over the age of consent in the relevant jurisdictions.

Her testimony as a witness will still be relevant to the overall alleged conspiracy to entice minors to engage in illegal sexual conduct.

Allegedly befriending and grooming her, Maxwell introduced the young girl to Epstein in London when she was 17, according to the indictment.

Maxwell encouraged her to perform sexualized massages during which she was allegedly abused by Epstein in 1994 and 1995.

Minor Victim-4 first met Maxwell when she was recruited at approximately 14 years old to give sexualized massages to Epstein at his Palm Beach residence. Between 2001 and 2004, Minor Victim-4 was paid hundreds of dollars in cash for her interactions with Epstein during which he’d sexually abuse her, according to the indictment.

The victim also allegedly recruited other young females to provide sexualized massages on Epstein at his and Maxwell’s request. At times, Maxwell called the victim from New York to schedule the massages on Epstein upon his return to Florida.

Maxwell also sent gifts from New York, including lingerie, to the victim’s home in Florida, the indictment says.

Maxwell’s counsel maintains she is innocent and was only charged because Epstein died.

What we might see in court

The trial, expected to last about six weeks, will proceed through the upcoming holidays, meaning Maxwell will likely celebrate her 60th birthday in federal prison on Christmas Day.

Jurors will see Maxwell unshackled sitting at the defense table in regular clothing and a medical face mask — a requirement for all in attendance at court.

Maurene Comey, the daughter of former FBI Director James Comey, is one of the prosecutors trying the case.

The alleged victims and some other witnesses will testify under pseudonyms or by their first name, though the jury will be told their identities, according to court filings.

Jurors could see Maxwell’s ‘little black book’

A former employee at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion will testify about an address book containing contact information for alleged underage victims and high-profile celebrities Epstein and Maxwell associated with, according to court documents.

It’s unclear at this point if jurors will get to see a copy of the book during the trial.

The employee will testify that this copy aligns with her recollection of the bound and sewn, typed book that contains contact information for Maxwell’s family members and the alleged victims in this case, court filings say.

Judge Nathan said during the final pretrial hearing that she’d hear the unnamed employee’s testimony about the book before she rules on whether jurors can see any of it.

Prosecutors say the book belonged to Maxwell and that copies of it and another belonging to Epstein were placed around Epstein’s home for convenience, per a house manual obtained via a search warrant.

Expert witnesses expected to testify about grooming for sexual abuse

Prosecutors allege Maxwell had a pattern of grooming Epstein’s victims, making them comfortable by taking them on outings like shopping and going to see movies, and asking about their personal lives.

An expert on child sex abuse, Dr. Lisa Rocchio, is expected to testify for the prosecution on the grooming of minors for sexual abuse, a concept at the crux of the government’s argument for the charges against Maxwell in the indictment.

Judge Nathan ruled the defense may also call expert witnesses to combat the expected testimony from the prosecution’s expert.

Dr. Park Dietz is expected to downplay grooming in testimony for the defense, saying that grooming can simply be kind behavior that does not inherently have to be associated with sexual abuse, according to a defense motion.

Dr. Elizabeth Loftus is also expected to testify for the defense about memory distortion and the tendency of victims to remember core information but forget or misremember peripheral details around a traumatic event, according to a defense motion.

Loftus was similarly paid to testify on the subject in Harvey Weinstein’s defense in the 2020 trial that ended in a conviction of the disgraced movie mogul on sexual misconduct charges.

Maxwell faces two additional perjury charges connected to allegations that she lied during a 2016 civil deposition which are expected to be handled in a separate trial.


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