Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense team rests its case after she declines to testify
Southern District of New York

Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense team rests its case after she declines to testify

Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense team has rested its case in her sex trafficking conspiracy trial without Maxwell taking the stand to testify.

The defense rested after presenting its case over two days in which nine witnesses were called to testify in defense of Maxwell, a close confidante and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein. Prosecutors said they would not put on any rebuttal.

Maxwell confirmed she would not testify in her defense Friday. Asked by Judge Alison Nathan if she understood her rights, Maxwell pulled down her mask and responded, “Your honor, the government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and so there is no need for me to testify.”

Closing arguments are expected Monday, and Judge Nathan said she expects to instruct and charge the jury the same day, giving jurors two days to deliberate before court closes next Thursday and Friday for the Christmas holidays.

The jury can return to continue deliberating the following week if they have not reached a verdict.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to six federal charges, including sex trafficking of minors, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three counts of conspiracy.

The case against Maxwell, 59, relies mainly on the testimony of four women who say they were sexually abused by Epstein when they were under the age of 18 — and that Maxwell, 59, facilitated and sometimes participated in the abuse. Prosecutors rested their case last Friday after calling 24 witnesses over 10 days of testimony.

Maxwell’s defense attorneys have argued she is being scapegoated for Epstein’s actions and have attacked both the motivations and memories of the women who say they were abused.

Epstein was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019 but died by suicide in prison a month later. He’d previously pleaded guilty in 2008 to state prostitution charges.

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