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Ghislaine Maxwell trial: Defense to open its case starting Thursday

Ghislaine Maxwell
Posted at 5:41 AM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 11:30:28-05

NEW YORK — A New York City jury has heard four women detail accusations that they were teens when they became victims of a sex-abuse scheme devised by Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein.

Starting Thursday, Maxwell's attorneys are expected to make their case that Maxwell isn't the one to blame.

The British socialite's trial will resume with the defense calling its own witnesses in federal court in Manhattan.

The closely watched trial is moving along more quickly than initially expected, and the defense case could last just two days.

Prosecutors say Maxwell lured and groomed underage girls into a trafficking scheme set up by Epstein in the 1990s and 2000s.

Maxwell's attorneys are expected to argue that she should not be blamed for the crimes of Epstein.

Epstein was arrested in July 2019 on charges of sexually abusing dozens of girls. He died by suicide in jail a month later.

Epstein had previously served 13 months in jail in connection with a 2008 Florida conviction on prostitution charges and solicitation of a minor. Experts have called that conviction a "sweetheart deal" between Epstein and local prosecutors.

Epstein's high-profile connections with world leaders like Prince Andrew and former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have put a worldwide microscope on Maxwell's trial.

Maxwell faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted on all six counts of conspiracy and sex trafficking charges. She has denied any wrongdoing.