World

Ghislaine Maxwell's sex-trafficking trial to begin in New York City

November 29, 2021
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City in June 1995. Maxwell's high-profile is expected to last six weeks.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City in June 1995. Maxwell's high-profile is expected to last six weeks.

NEW YORK — British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is due to go on trial in New York City on sex trafficking and other charges, BBC reported.

She is expected to challenge claims she groomed underage girls for convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein for sexual abuse. He died in prison in 2019.

Maxwell, 59, has been in a US jail since her arrest last year, awaiting the high-profile six-week trial.

Maxwell, who also has American and French citizenship, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against her.

Lawyers for Maxwell, as well as family members, have repeatedly complained about her conditions in jail and her legal team has made several unsuccessful applications for bail.

Epstein died in a New York prison cell on 10 August 2019 as he awaited, without the chance of bail, his trial on sex trafficking charges.

The trial of Maxwell, the daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell, is scheduled for 08:30 local time (13:30 GMT) on Monday.

The prosecution is then expected to lay out the case and preview evidence and witnesses - but the defense is likely to question the credibility of some of the witnesses.

No cameras will be allowed in the courtroom.

According to a letter by Maxwell's lawyer, the defense will say her accusers might have faulty memories.

The letter says that leading experts in psychiatry and memory will be brought in to testify in her defense.

Maxwell is accused of having helped Epstein sexually abuse underage girls.

US prosecutors allege she "played a critical role in the grooming and abuse" of minors.

Four charges relate to the years 1994-97 when she was, according to an indictment, among Epstein's closest associates and also in an "intimate relationship" with him.

Two other charges - of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor - came in an amended indictment and relate to the period 2001 and 2004.

Sarah Ransome, one of Epstein's alleged victims, has told the BBC's Panorama program that Maxwell worked closely with him.

She said: "Ghislaine controlled the girls. She was like the madam. She was like the nuts and bolts of the sex trafficking operation."

Born outside Paris on Christmas Day, 1961, Maxwell grew up in a country mansion, went to Oxford University and speaks several languages.

She is Robert Maxwell's ninth and youngest child.

She is said to have had a very close relationship with her late father, and he named his luxury yacht — the Lady Ghislaine — after her.

Soon after her father's death in 1991, Maxwell left the UK to settle in America, where she worked in real estate, and not long after met Jeffrey Epstein.

She sold her Manhattan townhouse in 2016, and kept a low profile until she was arrested last July at her secluded mansion in the state of New Hampshire.


November 29, 2021
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