The jury in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex abuse trial began deliberating on Monday over whether the British socialite set up teenage girls to have sexual encounters with Jeffrey Epstein or if she is a scapegoat for the late financier.
Maxwell, 59, is accused of recruiting and grooming four teenage girls for Epstein between 1994 and 2004. Those accusers, now women in their 30s or 40s, said in emotional and explicit testimony that Maxwell made touching Epstein feel normal to them – and said she sometimes touched their bodies herself.
On trial for three weeks in federal court in Manhattan, Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking and other crimes. Epstein killed himself in a jail cell in 2019 at the age of 66 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.
“Your function is to weigh the evidence in the case and to determine whether or not the government has proved that Ms. Maxwell is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan instructed 12 jurors and five alternates before deliberations began.