After the evidentiary phase of trial wrapped up in a whirlwind three weeks, a federal prosecutor urged jurors on Monday to convict Ghislaine Maxwell of sex trafficking and other charges that could put her away effectively for the rest of her life.
“Ghislaine Maxwell was dangerous,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe said during closing arguments. “She was a grown women who preyed on vulnerable kids.”
“Deep and Lasting Harm”
Telling jurors at Maxwell “targeted” a girl whose father had died and another whose mother was an alcoholic, Moe described the defendant as a “sophisticated” predator who was well aware of her actions.
“She caused deep and lasting harm to young girls,” Moe told jurors. “It is time to hold her accountable.”
When trial began in late November, a different prosecutor—Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Elizabeth Pomerantz—made her opening pitch to jurors with a narrative about Maxwell’s debut accuser: “I want to tell you about a young girl named Jane.”
“Jane,” a soap opera actress testifying under a pseudonym, delivered emotional testimony shortly after claiming Maxwell groomed her for Jeffrey Epstein at age 14. She testified that she was a young student at the prestigious Interlochen academy in Michigan when Maxwell walked by with a “cute little Yorkie,” and Epstein was with her and the dog.
After the introduction, “Jane” said, she gave the pair her mother’s contact information and arranged a follow-up meeting in Epstein’s Palm Beach house. That’s where a years-long cycle of abuse began, according to Jane.
Moe described “Jane’s” story as emblematic of the “playbook that Maxwell ran for years,” in which Maxwell allegedly targeted daughters of struggling, single-parent households.
“Jane” testified that her father had recently died, and she was one of three witnesses to claim that Maxwell touched her breasts.
“It’s not an accident,” Moe said. “It happened again and again and again. It is powerful evidence of Maxwell’s guilt.”
The prosecutor noted extensive corroboration for “Jane’s” account, down to flight records from around the time of the initial meeting at Interlochen. “Jane’s” ex-boyfriend “Matt” testified that she called Epstein her “godfather” and that the “money wasn’t fucking free.” “Jane” also said that she saw Maxwell topless by the pool, and the prosecutor said that so has the jury, because of photographs entered into evidence.
“She Was in on the Whole Thing”
Carolyn, who testified under her true first name, testified that Maxwell touched her breasts and saw her naked some 30 times in Epstein’s massage room, beginning at the age of 14 years old.
Echoing the accounts of two of Maxwell’s other accusers, Carolyn implicated the defendant in hands-on abuse and grooming. “[Maxwell] came in and felt my boobs and my hips and my buttocks and said that — that Mr. Epstein would — that I had a great body for Mr. Epstein and his friends,” she told a jury.
In emotional testimony, Carolyn broke down into tears when she said she spent money she made from Epstein’s massages “buying drugs.” The “so-called” massages were part of a pattern, the prosecutor noted.
“Again and again throughout this trial, you heard how these girls were asked to perform sexualized massages on Jeffrey Epstein,” Moe said, adding that “she [Maxwell] was in on the whole thing.”
Like “Jane,” Carolyn had her story backed up by an ex-boyfriend: “Shawn,” who told the jury that he remembered picking her up at Epstein’s house. He also said Carolyn and other teenage girls would walk out of the house with $100 bills.
During the government’s case, prosecutors brought the green, fold-up massage table into the courtroom. The “Made in USA” sticker was still visible on the underside of the product. Prosecutors also showed jurors packages of dildos seized from that Palm Beach house and instructions on the upkeep of the massage room found in a “Household Manual” provided to staff, including Epstein’s ex-house manager Juan Alessi.
Moe pointed out what she described as a key directive in that book.
“Remember that you see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing, except to answer a question directed at you,” the manual stated. “Respect their privacy.”
During the trial, Epstein’s flight logs and so-called “little black book” were entered into evidence. Prosecutor Alison Moe described both as corroboration and the latter as a “powerfully incriminating document.”
“They Were Confusing Her Boundaries”
“Kate,” a British former model, told jurors she was 17 years old when Maxwell coaxed her to give Epstein sexualized “massages.”
Since that was over the age of consent in the relevant jurisdictions—the United Kingdom and New York—”Kate” is not considered Maxwell’s alleged victim. But U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan instructed the jury that her testimony can be considered in proving the broader conspiracy counts.
Annie Farmer, the only accuser to testify against Maxwell under her real name, said that she was only 16 years old when Maxwell touched her breasts while massaging her inside Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico.
Unlike “Kate,” the 16-year-old Farmer was considered a minor in some—but not all—of the locations that she spoke of during her testimony. She was a minor in her home state of Arizona as well as in New York City, where she said that Epstein put his hand on her leg and foot inside a movie theater.
“I felt sick to my stomach. It wasn’t something that I was at all expecting,” Farmer told jurors.
It is undisputed that Maxwell was not in New York when that happened, but a jury will have to determine whether Maxwell had a hand in enticing her to travel New Mexico, where she would have crossed the age of consent threshold.
Here, Moe told jurors their “common sense” tells them that it is “not normal” to teach a 16-year-old girl how to massage a middle-aged man’s feet.
“They were confusing her boundaries,” Moe said. “They were moving the line slowly and gradually for what would happen next.”
Farmer’s mother Janice Swain corroborated her account that her daughter went to Epstein’s ranch after the movie theater experience in New York because she thought Maxwell would be there chaperoning her. Once in Epstein’s New Mexico ranch, Farmer said, Maxwell instructed her to get undressed for a massage. Maxwell allegedly then pulled down the sheet to expose her breasts and touched them.
UPDATE—Dec. 20, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.: Read Law&Crime’s coverage of closing arguments by Maxwell’s defense team here.
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