Jeffrey Epstein faces trial by proxy: Ghislaine Maxwell

NEW YORK , -- Jeffrey Epstein, a disgraced financier, committed suicide behind bars. A judge invited his accusers to the court to vent their anger against Epstein.

Jeffrey Epstein faces trial by proxy: Ghislaine Maxwell

NEW YORK , -- Jeffrey Epstein, a disgraced financier, committed suicide behind bars. A judge invited his accusers to the court to vent their anger against Epstein.

In the coming weeks, Epstein will be prosecuted through proxy. His ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine, will face trial in Manhattan federal court. His accusers will be identified by pseudonyms and first names in court. They will have the opportunity to testify as witnesses for the government.

Maxwell, , has pleaded not guilty in the case that she groomed minors to have unwelcome sex with Epstein. She strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Maxwell, who was in jail, said that she had not committed any crimes at a recent pretrial conference. Maxwell was forced to wear shackles as she moved from one courtroom to the next, highlighting the severity of her allegations. However, the restraints were removed at last week's hearing.

Judge Alison J. Nathan starts Tuesday's questioning of jurors just before Maxwell's eagerly awaited trial begins with opening statements on Nov. 29.

Epstein, who was 66 years old, was arrested in New York on multiple charges of sex trafficking in 2019. His lawyers claimed that the charges were in violation of a 2008 non prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors Miami, which secretly ended a federal investigation into sex abuse involving at most 40 teenage girls. Instead, he pleaded guilty to Florida state charges and spent 13 months in prison. He also paid settlements to victims.

Two years ago, Epstein committed suicide while in New York's waiting room for trial. This was a shocking development in the New York case.

Prosecutors turned their attention to Maxwell after Maxwell's death. The British socialite and wealthy Oxford-educated British woman was the daughter Robert Maxwell. Maxwell died in 1991 after falling from his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, near the Canary Islands. He was also facing accusations that he had illegally taken his pension funds.

Prosecutors claim that Maxwell was living a lavish lifestyle and Maxwell took over the role to satisfy Epstein's proclivity to lure young victims into "sexualized massaging." Jurors will be shown a photo of Maxwell and Epstein nuding together to show their close relationship.

The trial's drama revolves around four young women who claim they were victims of exploitation as teenagers at Epstein's Palm Beach estate, Florida, his Manhattan townhouse, and other Santa Fe, New Mexico and London residences.

Prosecutors claim that Maxwell knew the victims, which included a 14-year old, were under the age of consent. Maxwell also arranged travel between Epstein's houses. The defense lawyers are trying to reduce or remove the testimony of one of four victims because she was 17 in a country where it wasn't illegally underage.

Prosecutors asked the judge this weekend to allow them to reveal to the jury the statements Epstein made about Maxwell's involvement in procuring underage girls to an employee.

According to the indictment, Maxwell "would attempt to normalize sexual abuse of a minor victims by, among others, discussing sexual topics and undressing infront of the victim, being present when the victim was undressed and/or being present during sex acts involving Epstein and the minor victim."

The Maxwell and Epstein cases have created a niche market for podcasts and documentaries like Netflix's "Jeffrey Epstein Filthy Rich," , as well as conspiracy theories.

According to reports, investigators took Maxwell's address book. This has sparked speculation about whether Epstein could face trial for his connections with Prince Andrew, ex-President Bill Clinton, and ex-O.J. Alan Dershowitz, Simpson's lawyer. The judge clarified that there would not be any name-dropping during trial. He stated that only certain pages from an address book, showing a section listing the victims of "massage", will be admissible.

Prosecutors tried to present emails that would have shown Maxwell selected women for other men. She blocked them, saying she was using her access "as social currency" with other powerful men she wanted to infuse herself with.

Maxwell's lawyers claim that Epstein's name will be mentioned frequently and Maxwell has already been affected by negative publicity. The questionnaire was used to screen potential jurors and asked whether anyone had posted anything about Maxwell or Epstein via social media.

Maxwell was portrayed by the defense as a victim.

In a court filing, her lawyers stated that Jeffery Epstein was a genius man but was also flawed by personality traits known to psychiatrists. Jeffery Epstein, like many others who have achieved great wealth and power, used the "Halo effect" to surround himself with people who would meet his needs.

Maxwell has been denied bail four times by Nathan. Nathan noted that Maxwell, a holder of U.S. and French citizenships, could easily use wealth and global connections in order to flee the country.

Maxwell was also question by the judge. She told authorities that she had approximately $3.5 million worth of assets after her July 2020 arrest. However, she later admitted to having $22.5 million in assets with her husband.

Last week, defense lawyer Bobbi Steinheim wrote Nathan that her client was "excited for her day in court."

Maxwell "looks forward" to Maxwell's trial and to walking out the courthouse without being cuffed or shackled after her acquittal. The lawyer has complained repeatedly about Maxwell’s jail conditions. She claimed Maxwell was punished for Epstein’s suicide by guards who shine light into her cells every 15 minutes and treat Maxwell harshly.

Some Epstein accusers stated that Maxwell was not allowed to bail out at the hearing, and they believed she was equally guilty.

One described Maxwell as "a sexual predator" who abused and groomed me and many other young children. Another said that Jeffrey couldn't have done the same without Ghislaine.

Updated Date: 15 November 2021, 14:51

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