Prosecutors in the Ghislaine Maxwell underage sex-trafficking trial say that the British socialite’s role within Jeffrey Epstein’s empire was to “normalize sexual abuse” of vulnerable young girls who were lured into the convicted pedophile’s orbit.
“She was a grown woman who preyed on kids, Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe said during closing closing statements. “She manipulated her victims and she groomed them for sexual abuse. She caused deep and lasting harm to young girls. It is time to hold her accountable.”
Maxwell has been charged with grooming underage girls for sexual abuse by Epstein and his associates. If convicted, she faces up to 40 years in prison, according to Bloomberg.
Moe concluded the prosecution’s closing argument after speaking for more than two hours on Monday morning. The defense is expected to spend around two-and-a-half hours on its summation, followed by a 35-minute government rebuttal. Jurors could begin deliberating later on Monday.
The trial, originally slated to last six weeks, is coming to an end much sooner than anticipated. Last week, the defense rested after presenting nine witnesses over two days. Maxwell chose not to testify in her defense. Jurors heard from 23 witnesses for the prosecution, including four accusers who said they were subject to abuse, over the course of the prior two weeks. -Bloomberg
According to Maxwell’s attorneys, US prosecutors are scapegoating her for Epstein’s crimes after the wealthy pedophile died in prison while awaiting charges in 2019. Moe, however, described Maxwell and Epstein as “partners in crime” who had been together for more than a decade.
“When you’re with someone for 11 years, you know what they like,” said Moe, “and Epstein liked underage girls. He liked to touch underage girls, and Maxwell knew it.”
Moe said that Maxwell was “crucial to the entire scheme,” adding “Epstein could not have done this alone” because a single, middle-aged man trying to recruit young girls into his home would have been “creepy” – yet accompanied by a “posh, sophisticated age-appropriate woman” caused many of Epstein’s victims to lower their defenses to lure “into a trap.”
Moe referenced anonymous accuser “Jane,” who said she was 14 when Maxwell began inviting her to Epstein’s palm beach mansion to give him massages.
“Maxwell was there acting like all of this was normal,” said Moe, adding “She was doing that, trying to normalize sexual abuse.“
Accuser ‘Carolyn’ testified that Maxwell asked another girl to “show her what to do” before sexual encounters in Epstein’s massage room. According to Moe, Carolyn’s testimony proves that Maxwell was well aware of what was going on.
“This is not a place for therapeutic massages,” said Moe, referring to Epstein’s massage room. “It is a place where Maxwell and Epstein’s victims were sexually abused.”
Moe said Maxwell was particularly “dangerous” because of how she targeted victims with difficult home lives. Jane testified that she met Maxwell and Epstein at a summer camp for the arts not long after her father died. Carolyn had described growing up with an inattentive, alcoholic mother.
“She targeted a girl whose father had just died,” the prosecutor said. “She targeted a girl who’s mother was an alcoholic. Maxwell was a sophisticated predator who knew what she was doing.”
The prosecutor also highlighted Maxwell’s possible financial motive for procuring girls for Epstein. One of Epstein’s private pilots had testified how Maxwell’s financial situation seemed to improve dramatically after she “downsized” apartments following her father’s 1991 death. A JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker testified about more than $30 million Epstein transferred to Maxwell. -Bloomberg
“At this point, you’ve got to ask yourself what was Maxwell doing for Epstein worth more than $30 million?” Moe said to the jurors. “Common sense tells you you don’t give someone $30 million unless they’re giving you exactly what you want. And what Epstein wanted was to touch underage girls.”