Ghislaine Maxwell was dangerous predator, prosecutor says
Posted December 20, 2021 10:00 am.
Last Updated December 20, 2021 10:09 am.
NEW YORK (AP) — Ghislaine Maxwell was a dangerous and sophisticated predator who caused “deep and lasting harm” to young girls by recruiting and grooming them to be sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein, a prosecutor told jurors Monday during closing arguments.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe told the jury that Epstein could not have preyed on teenage girls for more than a decade without the help of the British socialite, who she described as the “lady of the house” as Epstein abused girls at a New York mansion, a Florida estate and a ranch in New Mexico.
“Ghislaine Maxwell was dangerous,” Moe told jurors who were spaced apart in a courtroom where numerous pandemic precautions were taken. “Maxwell and Epstein committed horrifying crimes.”
The prosecutor said Maxwell was a “sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing. She ran the same playbook again and again and again.”
“She manipulated her victims and groomed them. She caused deep and lasting harm to young girls. It is time to hold her accountable,” Moe said.
Her summation came at the start of the fourth week of a trial that was originally projected to last six weeks.
It will be followed by defense arguments, when Maxwell’s team will once again go back to the idea that she was made a scapegoat after Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan federal jail cell in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.
Maxwell, 59, was supported in court by four siblings who sat next to one another in the first row of spectators.
Moe faced the jury as Maxwell, in a black mask and white sweater, sat behind her at the defense table and wrote notes, occasionally turning the pages of a notebook.
The prosecutor told jurors that Maxwell was a “posh, smiling age-appropriate woman” who provided cover for Epstein’s “creepy” behavior.
Maxwell has been jailed without bail since her arrest in July 2020. Judge Alison J. Nathan has denied her bail repeatedly, despite her lawyer’s arguments that the pledge of her $22.5 million estate and a willingness to be watched 24 hours a day by armed guards would guarantee her appearance in court.
The closings came after two dozen prosecution witnesses testified, including four women who say they were abused by Epstein with the help of Maxwell when they were teenagers.
A two-day defense presentation included former Epstein employees who had fond memories of Maxwell. It also included testimony from a memory expert, who said memories are particularly vulnerable to corruption as time passes.
Larry Neumeister And Tom Hays, The Associated Press