Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial in Manhattan federal court for sex trafficking was scheduled to enter a new phase on Monday, with prosecutors and defense attorneys presenting closing arguments. The debates were to last about five hours.
After the summons, judge Alison Nathan will educate jurors on the law and what it requires when weighing the charges. Jurors could begin deliberations Monday afternoon.
Maxwell, 59, was arrested in New Hampshire in July 2020 for her alleged involvement in the sexual abuse of underage adolescents by Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted financier and sex trafficker who committed suicide in New York City custody the year former.
The Briton, the daughter of the late press baron Robert Maxwell, has pleaded not guilty to six counts.
Lawyers appeared in court before Nathan on Saturday for a charge conference, to confirm the judge’s instructions to jurors.
Revisions to the instructions included that Nathan referred to Maxwell as “Mrs. Maxwell” when addressing the jury. Normally, the accused is referred to as “the defendant” in the instructions to the jury.
When Nathan asked her if she wanted to testify in her own defense on Friday, Maxwell pointed out her innocence.
“Your honor,” she said, “the government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, so there is no need for me to testify. “
Epstein, Maxwell’s longtime boyfriend, mingled with powerful associates including Prince Andrew and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
Nathan warned both parties in court that she wanted all outstanding issues to be resolved before the summaries, telling them, “I don’t want any objections during the fencing.”
Maxwell’s team maintained that they are a scapegoat for Epstein, who cannot be prosecuted because he is dead.
Nathan told lawyers for Maxwell on Friday: “There will be no argument over the government’s motives.”
Ghislaine Maxwell: Socialite tells court she will not testify in her trial as defence rests
Ghislaine Maxwell has confirmed she will not take the stand at her trial on sex trafficking charges.
The socialite confirmed she is waiving her right to testify on Friday, the 12th day of testimony in lower Manhattan’s federal court.
“Your honour, the government has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. So there is no need for me to testify,” she said.
A spokesperson for Ms Maxwell’s family had previously said she was “too fragile” to testify.
After Ms Maxwell addressed the court, the defence rested its case after calling seven witnesses over two days.
Earlier on Friday, Ms Maxwell’s attorneys asked the judge for more time to come up with two more witnesses to testify on Monday. “Our client’s life is on the line,” defence attorney Laura Menninger said.
Prosecutor Maurene Comey said the defence had had ample time to arrange their witnesses during a five-day break in the trial.
“We strongly disagree with the suggestion that the defence counsel has been unduly rushed here,” she said.
Judge Alison Nathan said she would not allow a delay in the case because: “I have a rule, you have your next witness or you rest.”
Closing arguments are set to begin on Monday at 9am. Prosecutors said their closing will be two to three hours, with 45 minutes for rebuttal. Ms Maxwell’s attorneys indicated their closing will take around the same amount of time.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday morning.
Ms Maxwell has been charged with two counts of transporting individuals across state lines for illegal sexual activity, one charge of sex trafficking of a minor and one charge of sex trafficking conspiracy. She also faces two charges of perjury that will be tried at a later date. She has denied all wrongdoing.
On Friday, the defence called Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, Eva Andersson-Dubin, to the stand to ask about her children’s relationship with the late financier.
Ms Andersson-Dubin said all three children were fond of Epstein and called him either “Uncle F” or “Uncle Jeff”, according to different reports. Ms Andersson-Dubin’s pronunciation was not completely clear.
She was shown photos of her two daughters, now aged 27 and 21, with Epstein, and said she hadn’t seen either photograph before.