US jury resumes deliberations in Maxwell sex crimes trial

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·2-min read
Deliberations have resumed in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex crimes trial (AFP/Johannes EISELE)
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  • Ghislaine Maxwell
    Ghislaine Maxwell
    Socialite
  • Jeffrey Epstein
    American financier

The US jury in Ghislaine Maxwell's sex crimes trial resumed deliberations Monday after a Christmas break that saw the British socialite spend her 60th birthday behind bars.

Maxwell could spend the rest of her life in jail if convicted of her alleged role in recruiting and grooming young girls to be sexually abused by the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The 12-person jury began considering Maxwell's fate on December 20 after a three-week trial and were granted a holiday break from Thursday.

US prosecutors argued the daughter of former British newspaper baron Robert Maxwell was a knowing participant in the conduct of Epstein, who killed himself in a US jail in 2019 while awaiting his own sex crimes trial.

Maxwell did not testify but in a defiant statement to the court earlier this month said that prosecutors had failed to prove her guilt.

The jury must reach a unanimous decision on each of the six counts facing Maxwell. If they cannot agree, then the judge could declare a mistrial.

The charges against Maxwell stem from 1994 to 2004. Two of Epstein's alleged victims said they were as young as 14 when Maxwell allegedly began grooming them and arranging for them to give massages to Epstein that ended in sexual activity.

One, identified only as "Jane," detailed how Maxwell recruited her at summer camp and made her feel "special."

She said sexual encounters with Epstein became routine, with Maxwell sometimes present.

Another, going by "Carolyn," said she was usually paid $300 after sexual encounters with Epstein, often by Maxwell herself.

A third alleged victim was Annie Farmer, now 42, who said Maxwell fondled her breasts when she was a teenager at the New Mexico ranch owned by Epstein.

Prosecutor Alison Moe has argued Maxwell was "the key" to Epstein's scheme of enticing young girls to give him massages, during which he would sexually abuse them.

Maxwell's defense team countered that there was a lack of evidence to convict and questioned the accusers' ability to recollect quarter-century-old events.

The team also argued that Maxwell was being used as a "scapegoat" for Epstein's crimes after he evaded justice.

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