Ghislaine Maxwell turns 60 behind bars as verdict looms

Dec 25, 2021, 1:30 PM | Updated: Dec 27, 2021, 5:38 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Ghislaine Maxwell reached her 60th birthday behind bars Saturday as she awaited the outcome of her sex trafficking trial.

The British socialite is scheduled to return to a Manhattan courthouse Monday to await word from a jury entering its third full day of talks after hearing over two dozen witnesses and viewing dozens of exhibits over three weeks.

Messages sent to her lawyer and a website where items expressing support for Maxwell are regularly posted were not returned Saturday.

Prosecutors said in their closing arguments last Monday that the crucial evidence was the testimony of four women who say they were sexually abused as teenagers by financier Jeffrey Epstein with help from Maxwell when she was his girlfriend, and later when she morphed into his close confidante and an employee valued highly enough that he gave her over $20 million.

Prosecutors called her the “lady of the house” from 1994 to 2004, saying she recruited and groomed teenagers as young as 14 to meet Epstein’s seemingly insatiable need to be touched by vulnerable girls who came from impoverished and despairing backgrounds or who counted on his claims of wealth and connections to aid their quests for success and fame in the performance arts.

Defense lawyers, though, say she was a U.S. government scapegoat after Epstein killed himself in the Manhattan federal jail cell where he was awaiting his own sex trafficking trial in August 2019. They said the memories of her accusers were corrupted by the passage of time and the influence of lawyers steering them toward multimillion-dollar payouts from a fund set up to compensate Epstein victims.

The jury already has asked to review the testimony of the four women, along with former Epstein housekeeper Juan Patricio Alessi, but they have given little hint of their overall progress on six charges, including a sex trafficking count that carries a potential penalty of up to 40 years in prison.

Alessi testified that when he worked at Epstein’s sprawling Florida home from 1990 to 2002, he saw “many, many, many” female visitors, appearing to be in their late 20s, often lounging topless by the pool. He also testified that two accusers, underage teens at the time, were repeat visitors to the Epstein mansion.

Each day of deliberations without a verdict seems to boost the defense team, which is aware that fast verdicts almost always go in the government’s favor and that deliberations that stretch out can sometimes indicate dissension or confusion among jurors.

On Wednesday, two defense lawyers gave each other a high-five.

The deliberations are happening as a wave of coronavirus infections fueled by the omicron variant sweeps through New York state, particularly severe where jurors live. The anxiety over the spread was evident when U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan asked jurors to deliberate Thursday. They declined.

When she sent them away Wednesday for the long holiday weekend, she told them there would be new courthouse protocols Monday to fight the coronavirus, including a requirement that the most protective masks be worn. And she offered to give them the masks to protect themselves and others through the weekend.

“Please stay safe over the long weekend. Obviously we’ve got the variant, and I need all of you here and healthy on Monday,” Nathan said. “So please take good care and take cautions.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Doja Cat performs at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Sunday, ...
Associated Press

BET Awards return Sunday with Doja Cat as leading nominee

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The BET Awards return Sunday with a live show that could see Doja Cat, Drake and Ari Lennox snag some trophies. Doja Cat enters the show as the leading nominee with six. The chart-topping performer is up for best female R&B-pop artist, best female hip-hop artist, album of the year for […]
23 hours ago
U.S. President Joe Biden, right, waves as he walks past Bavarian mountain riflemen and traditional ...
Associated Press

Biden, G-7 leaders huddle on energy, inflation, Ukraine war

ELMAU, Germany (AP) — President Joe Biden and his Group of Seven allies will huddle Sunday on strategies to secure energy supplies and tackle inflation, aiming to keep the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from splintering the global coalition working to punish Moscow. Biden arrived in Germany’s picturesque Bavarian alps early Sunday morning for […]
23 hours ago
A staff member works at the Yuet Tung China Works, Hong Kong's porcelain factory, in Hong Kong, Wed...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Hong Kong’s last hand-painted porcelain factory

HONG KONG (AP) — Step into Yuet Tung China Works, Hong Kong’s last remaining hand-painted porcelain factory, and you find yourself surrounded by stacks of dinnerware, each piece painstakingly decorated by hand with vibrant motifs of flowers, fruits and animals. Joseph Tso, the third-generation owner of the factory, and his small team are among the […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: June 26, first Harry Potter book published

Today in History Today is Sunday, June 26, the 177th day of 2022. There are 188 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On June 26, 1945, the charter of the United Nations was signed by 50 countries in San Francisco. On this date: In 1917, the first troops of the American Expeditionary […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Rep. Mary Miller calls Roe decision ‘victory for white life’

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois, speaking at a rally Saturday night with former President Donald Trump, called the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life.” Miller’s spokesman said the Illinois Republican had intended to say the decision was a victory for a “right to life.” […]
23 hours ago
FILE - This Sept. 20, 2017, file photo shows a sign at the Disney store on the Champs Elysees Avenu...
Associated Press

Abortion ruling thrusts companies into divisive arena

The Supreme Court’s decision to end the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion has catapulted businesses of all types into the most divisive corner of politics. Some companies that stayed silent last month — when a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico — spoke up for the first time Friday, including The […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Ghislaine Maxwell turns 60 behind bars as verdict looms