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Maxwell’s defense insists in closing arguments that she’s an innocent woman


Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense delivered closing arguments Monday afternoon, telling the jury in her sex trafficking trial that the British socialite is ‘an innocent woman wrongfully accused of crimes she did not commit.’

In her closing remarks, Maxwell’s lawyer Laura Menninger said: ‘The government has failed to prove any charge beyond a reasonable doubt and the only correct verdict in this case is not guilty on each count.’

The defense again attempted to discredit the accounts of the four accusers, as Menninger stated, ‘The evidence has established what we told you it would, that the stories relied on by the government are erroneous memories, manipulation and money. But in this case the order is reversed. The money brought the accusers to the FBI where their personal injury lawyers sat right there.’

As for how Maxwell was portrayed, Menninger said that she had been made to look like ‘Cruella de Vil and the Devil Wears Prada all wrapped up into one’.

Such a portrait was ‘as old as Hollywood’, Menninger said.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense delivered closing arguments Monday afternoon

In her closing remarks, Maxwell's lawyer Laura Menninger said Maxwell is 'an innocent woman wrongfully accused of crimes she did not commit'

In her closing remarks, Maxwell’s lawyer Laura Menninger said Maxwell is ‘an innocent woman wrongfully accused of crimes she did not commit’

Menninger said: 'We are not here to defend Jeffrey Epstein, he is not my client', but she added: 'Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein'

Menninger said: ‘We are not here to defend Jeffrey Epstein, he is not my client’, but she added: ‘Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein’

Menninger said, ‘The lawyers manipulated their stories and the government accepted their stories without ever corroborating them.’

Menninger said that ‘suddenly’ the accusers ‘recovered memories years later.’

She said: ‘The recovered memories that Ghislaine was involved, that Ghislaine was there, that Ghislaine was the culprit.’

Menninger said that the prosecution spent a lot of time talking about Epstein’s lifestyle, about his wealth and his property and his private planes ‘just like a sensationalist tabloid would’.

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A bruised Ghislaine Maxwell is seen in this photo of her alleged mistreatment in prison 

Menninger said that Epstein was a ‘master manipulator’ who ‘abused his money and his power’.

She said: ‘We are not here to defend Jeffrey Epstein, he is not my client’, but she added: ‘Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein’.

Menninger claimed that when Epstein died the prosecution ‘pivoted’ to going after Maxwell.

The idea was that ‘Ghislaine was there, she must have known.’

Menninger criticized prosecutors for showing the jury dozens of photos out of 38,000 seized from Epstein’s New York home in 2019.

She said: Where are the other 31,960 photos? Who was in those photos? Was it other girlfriends? Other women?

Nor should the jury draw any inference from Epstein keeping photos of Maxwell. Menninger asked the jury that if an ex boyfriend or girlfriend had photos of them, would that make them a ‘sex offender’?

Menninger condemned the use of such images as ‘straight up sensationalism.’

Turning to the accusers’ memories, Menninger said that they ‘inserted Ghislaine Maxwell into their narrative’ after they ‘lawyered up’.

Menninger said: ‘You don’t need a lawyer to talk to the FBI’.

Menninger said that it fell to the defense to ask the ‘tough questions’ of the accusers and cross examination had shown that the ‘truth was manipulated and changed over time’ for the purpose of the victims getting a payday. 

Menninger went through inconsistencies in the statements by Jane and Carolyn and said that they had suffered from ‘post event suggestion’, as their ‘false memory’ expert Elizabeth Loftus had described it – adding new and false information after the event.

According to Menninger, the prosecution had ‘broken promises’ to produce numerous house staff, family members and other witnesses to back up the claims.

The idea put forward by prosecutors Maxwell became a ‘facilitator of sexual abuse’ for Epstein to maintain her wealthy ‘lifestyle’ was wrong.

Menninger said that Maxwell at the time was a ‘beautiful woman in her 30s’ who was just starting out on her career.

Epstein was ‘manipulating everyone around him’ and ‘dating women behind her (Maxwell’s) back’.

Menninger said that ‘maybe it was Jeffrey who needed Ghislaine and her connections’, rather than her needing him for his money.

Turning to each accuser, Menninger said that Jane was like an ‘actress who forgot her lines’ – Jane is an actress on a soap opera.

Four of Maxwell's siblings - Kevin, Isabel, Ian and Christine - arrived to court to support their sister Monday

Four of Maxwell’s siblings – Kevin, Isabel, Ian and Christine – arrived to court to support their sister Monday

One photo shows Maxwell kissing the pedophile's cheek with her arms wrapped around him. Many have testified that they believed Epstein and Ghislaine were boyfriend and girlfriend

One photo shows Maxwell kissing the pedophile’s cheek with her arms wrapped around him. Many have testified that they believed Epstein and Ghislaine were boyfriend and girlfriend

The couple appear in one photo in what appears to be a European city. Ghislaine is seen kissing Jeffrey on the cheek

The couple appear in one photo in what appears to be a European city. Ghislaine is seen kissing Jeffrey on the cheek

During the morning session, Prosecutor Alison Moe said in the prosecution’s closing arguments that the evidence included testimony from housekeepers, victims and bank receipts which showed Epstein wiring $30million to Maxwell.

She said that the evidence was ‘clear and consistent and it shows only one conclusion: Maxwell is guilty.’

Moe said she wanted to talk the jury through eight different reasons why they should convict Maxwell.

This photo of a young Annie Farmer in a school picture was submitted into evidence by the government

This photo of a young Annie Farmer in a school picture was submitted into evidence by the government 

The first was that she and Epstein were ‘partners in crime’, the crime in question being the ‘sexual exploitation of young girls’.

Moe said: ‘Maxwell was Epstein’s right hand and for many years they were in a romantic relationship. They were partners.’

Moe told the jury about an essay that Maxwell had written in which she talked about how she had been with Epstein for 11 years and that they were ‘great partners and best friends’.

Moe told the jury: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, when you are with someone for 11 years you know what they like. Epstein liked underage girls. He liked to touch underage girls. Maxwell knew it. Make no mistake, Maxwell was crucial to the whole scheme. Epstein could not have done this alone’.

Moe said that a single, middle aged man showing an interest in teenage girls would come off as ‘creepy’.

She said: ‘That sets off alarm bells. But when that man is accompanied by a posh, smiling, respectable, age appropriate woman, that’s when everything starts to seem legitimate’.

When that woman asks the girls to give that man a massage, it ‘lures them into a trap’.

Moe said: ‘It allows that man to get away with molesting these girls. Maxwell was key to the whole operation’.

Moe told the jury about photos that had been introduced into evidence including one of Maxwell and Epstein swimming naked in a pool.

Another, which had been made public, showed Maxwell massaging Epstein’s foot with her breasts.

Moe said: ‘What you are looking at are two people in a sexual relationship. They were partners’.

Further evidence they were partners came from the 58-page household manual from Epstein’s Palm Beach home which Moe said Maxwell wrote.

She said: ‘These were the rules that Maxwell put in place…this makes clear she was the lady of the house’.

Moe said that the idea put forward by the defense that Maxwell was ‘just an employee’ was nonsense.

She said: ‘Of course Maxwell knew what was going on in that house. She had an iron grip on what was happening there’.

Moe told the jury about testimony from Juan Alessi, the former Palm Beach house manager, who said that after Epstein’s massages with young girls, he had to clean off the sex toys and put them in a basket in Maxwell’s bathroom.

Maxwell wrote a list of 13 different kinds of oils and lotions to be used during the massages.

The six charges against Maxwell: 

THE CHARGES

Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts (5 years max sentence)  

 Enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts (20 years)

Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity (20 years)

Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity (10 years minimum, life maximum)

Sex Trafficking Conspiracy

Sex Trafficking of a Minor 

Ghislaine Maxwell also faces two charges of perjury but those counts are due to be tried after her sex crimes trial. 

The charges relate to testimony she gave in 2016 in a defamation case filed against her by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre.  

THE ‘FACTS’ 

Prosecutors say Maxwell groomed three girls between 1994 and 1997 for Epstein. 

They are not named in the indictment, but she allegedly targeted them in London, Florida, New York and New Mexico.

Maxwell, it is alleged, would befriend the girls by asking them about their life and their schooling. She would put them at ease by taking them to the movies and taking them shopping, winning their trust to later deliver them to Epstein, it’s alleged.

To ‘normalize’ the abuse that would come later, prosecutors say she undressed in front of the girls herself and asked them sexual questions. 

She then not only facilitated Epstein abusing them, prosecutors say, but took part in some of it herself. 

The alleged sex abuse includes ‘sexualized group massages’. 

The indictment also says Maxwell made the girl feel ‘indebted’ to Epstein by encouraging them to take money from him and let him pay for their education and travel

Moe said: ‘Again and again the evidence shows you how closely Maxwell was involved in Epstein’s so called massages.

‘She managed all the details right down to the lotions and oils. She was in on the whole thing’.

Among the instructions in the household manual was the command to staff to ‘hear nothing, see nothing and say nothing.’

Moe said that the jury knew ‘exactly why’ Maxwell wanted such rules in place: ‘It’s because she was Epstein’s partner in crime. In that house behind closed doors Maxwell and Epstein were committing horrifying crimes’.

The second reason why the jury should find Maxwell guilty is that she ‘ran the same playbook’ with all of her victims, Moe said.

She said that the similarities between the four accusers in the case were ‘incredibly powerful evidence of the defendant’s guilty’.

Maxwell helped to select victims who were ‘vulnerable’ and struggling, Ms Moe said.

Jane was 14 years old and her father had just died. Annie was 16 and wanted to go to college. Kate was 17 and was ‘dazzled’ by Maxwell. Carolyn was living with an alcoholic mother and had been abused when she was four.

Maxwell and Epstein would invite them to his house in New York, his ranch in New Mexico or his home in Palm Beach to ‘isolate’ them. 

Moe said: ‘That was by design. It was Maxwell’s design. Maxwell was hanging out with these girls and isolating them and befriending them’.

Once the girls were alone Maxwell began to ‘normalize’ talk about sex and then sexual contact, Moe said, citing the massage that Maxwell gave to Annie Farmer.

Ghislaine Maxwell's second accuser Carolyn took the stand on Day Seven of the British socialite's sex trafficking trial

Ghislaine Maxwell’s second accuser Carolyn took the stand on Day Seven of the British socialite’s sex trafficking trial

Maxwell's lawyer Laura Menninger questioned the alleged victim - who is using the pseudonym Jane - and attempted to undermine the accuser's memory during the first week of the trial

Maxwell’s lawyer Laura Menninger questioned the alleged victim – who is using the pseudonym Jane – and attempted to undermine the accuser’s memory during the first week of the trial 

In fact Maxwell touched the breasts of three of the accusers, Moe said.

She told the jury: ‘They were kids in massage rooms on massage tables…it’s powerful evidence of the defendant’s guilt’

All the girls described interacting with the ‘same woman,’ Moe said.

She said: ‘They knew her as charming, sophisticated….a woman who moved in social circles that were intimidating.

‘The relationships Maxwell cultivated with these girls were essential to the scheme….Maxwell helped established a close relationship that became the cover for sexual abuse.’

Moe said that reason number three for a conviction was Jane’s story.

She claimed that Maxwell and Epstein recruited her at the age of 14 at and arts camp in Michigan and flew her around his homes where she was repeatedly abuse.

One of the first instances of normalizing sex was Maxwell being topless by the pool at Epstein’s Palm Beach home.

Moe told the jury: ‘By the way, you know that’s true because you have seen Maxwell topless by the pool too’, referring to the photo they had been shown

Moe said that such behavior had a ‘purpose’ which was ‘setting the stage for what came next’.

Maxwell became Jane’s ‘big sister’ and made it seem like this was all ‘casual’ and ‘normal’, Moe said.

She said: ‘None of it was normal. It was not OK. It was deeply disturbing. They were molesting an underage girl. That’s what Maxwell did’.

Moe said that Maxwell played an ‘essential role’ in the massages and, as Jane testified, she was the person who was ‘most frequently in the room when Epstein molested her’

The abuse went on for years and Maxwell and Epstein saw Jane ‘literally growing up in front of their eyes’, Moe said.

She said: ‘She turned 15, 16 and 17. They maintained a coercive relationship that went on until her early 20s’.

As she wrapped up her two hour and ten minute closing statement, Moe mocked the defense opening that Maxwell was being blamed for something a man did.

In fact Maxwell ‘made her own choices’,  Moe said.

Moe agreed with the defense claim that the case was about ‘memory, money and manipulation’ only ‘not in the way’ they described.

In particular she urged the jury to think about the $300 that Carolyn was paid for massages with Epstein and compare it to the $30m that Epstein gave to Maxwell.

Moe dismissed the evidence of ‘false memory’ expert Elizabeth Loftus, a defense expert witness, as a ‘total distraction’

Maxwell’s lawyers had to discredit the victims because the truth was that their testimony was ‘devastating’ against her.

She said: ‘You common sense tells you that the witnesses are not lying and cannot be all misremembering the same thing.’ 



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