A jury has begun deliberating in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial in New York City on Dec. 20 afternoon following closing arguments and weeks of testimony.
Prosecutors said in their closing arguments that Maxwell was “key to the whole operation” of sexually abusing and trafficking women and girls.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe called Maxwell “dangerous” and a “sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing.”
“She was a grown woman who preyed on vulnerable kids,” Moe told the jury.
“She manipulated her victims and groomed them. She caused deep and lasting harm to young girls. It is time to hold her accountable,” Moe also said.
Meanwhile, the defense argued that the government was using Maxwell as a scapegoat for crimes committed by late, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was her boyfriend and business associate.
“Ghislaine is being tried here for being with Jeffrey Epstein. Maybe it was the biggest mistake of her life, but it is not a crime,” Lead Defense Attorney Laura Menninger told the court.
Menninger also defended the testimony last week of a cognitive psychologist who testified that people may reconstruct “false memories” of traumatic events.
The women suddenly “recovered memories that Ghislaine was there,” Menninger said.
Over the weekend, Judge Alison Nathan told jurors that they may choose to convict Maxwell if they conclude she either ignored or “consciously avoided” knowledge of Epstein’s sex crimes.
The defense criticized the judge’s move as a “backup option.”
Jurors could reach a verdict before Christmas.
If convicted, Maxwell faces up 80 years in prison.
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