Saturday, January 22

Ghislaine Maxwell accused of preying on young girls for Epstein to abuse

Prosecutors have alleged that British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein were “partners in crime”, and that she groomed vulnerable young girls for him to sexually abuse.

Ms Maxwell appeared in court in New York on the first day of her trial on sex trafficking charges, which she denies.

Her defence said she was being used as a scapegoat for Epstein’s crimes.

Epstein died in prison in 2019.

Ms Maxwell has been in a US jail since her arrest last year, awaiting the high-profile six-week trial.

The 59-year-old, who also has American and French citizenship, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against her.

Lawyers for Ms Maxwell, as well as family members, have repeatedly complained about her conditions in jail and her legal team has made several unsuccessful applications for bail.

Epstein died in a New York prison cell on 10 August 2019 as he awaited his trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled to be a suicide.

Prosecutors argue Ms Maxwell was “essential” to Epstein’s abuse, while the defence said Maxwell was only on trial because they cannot bring him to justice.

“The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are for things that Jeffrey Epstein did, but she is not Jeffrey Epstein,” her lawyer Bobbi Sternheim argued.

Ms Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of sex trafficking and other crimes.

The allegations at trial cover the period 1994 to 2004. Prosecutors allege Ms Maxwell was a “right-hand” partner for Epstein, helping to groom vulnerable teenage girls as young as 14 for abuse at his luxurious residences.

Full Article BBC News
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