When Ghislaine Maxwell’s protection case began final Thursday, her workforce tried pulling off a near-impossible job – making the British socialite accused of intercourse trafficking appear likable.
Certainly, the primary protection witness in Maxwell’s Manhattan federal courtroom sex-trafficking trial, former assistant Cimberly Espinosa, described her ex-boss in glowing phrases.
“I extremely revered Ghislaine. I appeared as much as her very a lot and I truly realized loads from her,” Espinosa testified, later commenting: “She handled me truthful and good and it was enjoyable.”
Maxwell’s legal professionals didn’t must name Espinosa, in fact – they don’t must do something, not to mention mount this kind of courtroom disaster PR marketing campaign. Prosecutors should show their case past an inexpensive doubt and the protection doesn’t must show innocence.
But now that the authorized drama is getting into its closing phases, even the fairest of jurors seemingly received’t have the ability to ignore prosecutors’ tried portrayal of Maxwell as a privileged socialite. Prosecutors contend that Maxwell dedicated crimes to protect her gilded life-style alongside disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, so this characterization would possibly shade how jurors now weigh the case.
The protection’s mounting of a marketing campaign on likability – a standard courtroom tactic – is a response to that prosecution assault. If Maxwell had been extra likable to jurors, there simply could be a slight likelihood that the bags related to wealth doesn’t utterly weigh her down.
Therefore the significance of statements from Espinosa, which forged Maxwell as a pal of the working girl who helped her workers out. “I attribute my profession proper now as an government assistant to what I realized supporting Ghislaine,”Espinosa stated.
Maxwell, 59, is being tried for six counts associated to her alleged involvement in Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor teenagers. Maxwell was apprehended at a tony New Hampshire property in July 2020. She maintains her innocence.
Epstein, a convicted intercourse offender whose high-profile and wealthy associates included former US presidents Donald Trump and Invoice Clinton, in addition to Prince Andrew, killed himself in a New York Metropolis federal jail greater than two years in the past, whereas ready on his personal sex-trafficking trial.
Closing statements in Maxwell’s case are scheduled to start out on Monday.
Maxwell labored to fulfill Epstein’s many whims, from transport sand and palm bushes to his personal island, to stocking all his properties with a most popular bread. By describing Maxwell’s work ethic as tireless, Espinosa forged her extra like Epstein’s worker than his high-flying equal.
On Friday, testimony from one other former assistant sought to foster Maxwell’s likability. Michelle Healy, who labored at Epstein’s New York Metropolis workplace from 1996 to 1999, stated he and Maxwell had been her bosses.
“She’s incredible,” Healy stated of Maxwell. “She taught me loads. I revered her. She was robust, however she was nice.”
Protection lawyer lawyer Laura Menninger requested Healy inquiries to rebut testimony from the previous home supervisor of Epstein’s Palm Seashore mansion. That supervisor, Juan Alessi, had alleged that Maxwell instructed him to by no means look Epstein within the eyes.
Menninger requested: Did Maxwell ever warn individuals towards trying her within the eye? Did Maxwell ever give her orders on how she may communicate with individuals?
“No,” Healy stated.
Healy stated that she hadn’t labored out of Epstein’s different properties and had solely been to his New Mexico ranch as soon as on account of a household emergency. Her description of this go to additionally portrayed Maxwell as magnanimous.
“The one time I went to Zorro Ranch … my sister obtained into a really dangerous automotive accident and broke her jaw,” Healy stated. “And Ghislaine was sort sufficient to take me there.”
Espinosa and Healy’s constructive portrayals aren’t stunning, contemplating that lead lawyer Bobbi Sternheim addressed Maxwell’s wealth in her opening assertion.
“You’ve heard many adverse issues about Ghislaine Maxwell and the proof goes to point out many distinctive issues about Ghislaine Maxwell – effectively educated, effectively traveled, a graduate of Oxford,” Sternheim informed jurors. “She socialized with extraordinary individuals, she will pilot a helicopter, she speaks quite a few languages and she or he has labored her complete grownup life.”
“She is being pegged because the wealthy lady, the socialite,” Sternheim argued. “However privileged background, snug life-style, standing – they could be issues that simply test the improper field, however they aren’t crimes.”