A jury will be selected and opening statements will be heard as Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial gets under way in New York (Picture: AP / Reuters)
Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial is finally set to start in New York, 17 months after the British socialite was arrested for allegedly trafficking minors on behalf of former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell denies recruiting teenagers as young as 14 for the disgraced paedophile financier to sexually abuse from 1994 to 2004.
Prosecutors say Maxwell, 59, befriended girls with shopping and movie theatre trips, later coaxing them into giving Epstein nude massages at his various residences, during which he would engage in sex acts before giving them money.
The daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell has been held in a Brooklyn jail awaiting her trial and faces a potential life sentence if convicted.
The holder of multiple passports, Maxwell has been refused bail six times, with judges deeming her a flight risk.
She’s complained of being kept in ‘unsanitary and inhumane conditions’ while her brother, Ian Maxwell, previously said his sister is in ‘effective isolation’ in a 6ft by 9ft cell that has no natural light and is equipped with a toilet and a concrete bed.
Epstein – who befriended countless celebrities, including Britain’s Prince Andrew – died in jail in 2019 aged 66 while he was being held on charges of the sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York.
Prosecutors then vowed to pursue his alleged co-conspirators, resulting in Maxwell’s arrest in July 2020.
Maxwell denies trafficking minors for her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein (Picture: Getty)
Maxwell has been held in jail while awaiting trial (Picture: AP)
Ghislaine’s sister, Isabel Maxwell, arrived at the court in Manhattan as the trial got under way (Picture: Getty Images)
Attorneys Laura Menninger, left, and Jeffrey Pagliuca arrive at court (Picture: AP)
The defence argues that Maxwell is being tried only because Epstein escaped justice.
Court documents suggest Maxwell will challenge the accusations against her by claiming the alleged victims may have ‘false or distorted memories’.
The intend to call psychologist Elizabeth Loftus – an expert on ‘false memories’ – to the stand.
Ms Loftus also testified during the trials of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby and claimed that memories become distorted over time, particularly during questioning years later.
Maxwell denies all charges (Picture: Reuters)
The full indictment against Maxwell lists six charges, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Maxwell is also accused of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, sex trafficking conspiracy, and sex trafficking of a minor.
The defendant is further alleged to have lied under oath by hiding her participation in Epstein’s offences during a separate civil case. She denies all charges.
Epstein died in jail in 2019 (Picture: AP)
It is expected that the 12 jurors and six alternates who will decide Maxwell’s fate will be officially seated on Monday.
Opening statements in the trial, taking place in the Thurgood Marshall US courthouse in lower Manhattan, are also due to begin.
The trial, which is being followed around the world, is expected to last for six weeks.
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