NewsJustice for Epstein's Sacrifice? - Ex-partner in court

Justice for Epstein's Sacrifice? – Ex-partner in court

Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly helped sexually abuse minors. The trial in New York also concerns the allegations against her ex-partner Jeffrey Epstein.

New York – Ghislaine Maxwell is unlikely to be particularly confident about her first day of trial. Four times, the lawyers of the ex-partner of the deceased US multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein applied to release her from custody.

The New York judge Alison Nathan refused four times because of the risk of escape – which is already taken as an indication of the climate in court. The long-awaited trial of the 59-year-old on allegations of sexual abuse of minors will start on Monday. Epstein’s victims should see him as the last chance for justice.

The history of the alleged sex crimes of Epstein has long assumed monumental proportions in the USA: In the course of the alleged crimes, the names of celebrities of international high society – yes, even ex-presidents and princes – are mentioned again and again. And around Epstein’s death in a prison cell, classified as a suicide in 2019, there are sometimes crude conspiracy theories.

According to the prosecutor, the ex-investment banker allegedly abused dozen underage girls over decades and built a prostitution ring on his various estates in the USA – at the same time he continued to court the powerful and the rich.

Open secret

His inclinations are said to have been an open secret in certain circles, said Donald Trump – who was not yet politically active at the time – about Epstein in New York Magazine in 2002: “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do. And many of them are more of the younger sort. ”Other acquaintances of Epstein were the former US President Bill Clinton, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the British Prince Andrew, against whom a civil suit is pending by a victim.

The rumors surrounding the influential businessman also led the prosecutor to investigate in Florida, where Epstein was also on trial in 2008. At that time it was about the allegations of 24 minors. What followed was a deal that many considered a scandal and made Epstein a symbol of a wealthy elite that can get away with anything: After 13 months of being allowed to work in the office during the day, he was free again.

But investigators in New York opened the case again and charged Epstein again in 2019. Then one morning he was found dead in his prison cell – and his victims go without trial. As a result, Ghislaine Maxwell came even more into the focus of investigators and the public, and last year she was finally arrested. The prosecution accuses the woman with British, French and American passports of having been the main accomplice in Epstein’s abuse ring.

Nothing illegal at all?

The indictment states that the now 59-year-old facilitated Epstein’s abuse “by talking to victims about sexual issues, encouraging them to massage Epstein and undressing in front of a victim.” She was also present at “certain sexual encounters between underage victims and Epstein”. Maxwell denies illegal activity.

She herself has a prominent background: She is the daughter of the super-rich publisher Robert Maxwell and came to New York in the early 1990s. She met Jeffrey Epstein at one of the numerous celebrity parties and is said to have been his girlfriend at times. Epstein’s environment described their role in his life as a mixture of employee, best friend and right-hand man.

Maxwell as the alleged center of the prostitution ring of her confidante, which is said to have willingly recruited victims for him – so the prosecutors want to portray her in the trial from Monday. They have four key witnesses for their six counts. The alleged crimes against the teenagers aged 14 and over took place in 1994 and 2004 in Epstein’s mansions in New York, Palm Beach, Santa Fe and London. It is estimated that the process could last into January.

Long imprisonment threatens

Maxwell’s defense, on the other hand, is likely to try to distance her client from Epstein, to portray the relationship as less close, and to portray him as abusive towards her as well. However, if the twelve judges carefully selected in the past few weeks do not follow this description, Maxwell faces many years in prison.

According to her lawyers, she had suffered from the circumstances in detention for more than 16 months. They described how their client was woken up at 3:45 in the morning to be taken to court hearings in Manhattan, how she couldn’t get enough to eat there and had to crawl into the car because of her ankle cuffs. So far, Maxwell hasn’t said much to Judge Nathan. But what she said was clear: “I have not committed any crime”. dpa

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