Ghislaine Maxwell suffered the first defeat before the criminal case against her had even started.

Even before the opening speeches this Monday, the federal court in Manhattan ruled that the girls and women she is said to have recruited for the late New York finance manager Jeffrey Epstein may be called "victims" during the trial.

After Maxwell's arrest in the summer of 2020, one of the victims had made serious allegations. “She is a sexual predator that has seduced and abused me and countless other children. Without Ghislaine, Jeffrey could never have done what he did, ”it testified. Maxwell is said to have recruited minors and young women for Epstein for more than 20 years. In front of schools and in shopping centers, she allegedly regularly approached victims and took them to Epstein's mansion in Manhattan, New Mexico, Florida or on his Caribbean island of Little Saint James. There Maxwell is said to have prepared them for assault with massages, mutual undressing and conversations about sex.

The girls and women stated that they were not only abused by Epstein, who had a criminal record as a sex offender, but also repeatedly by his prominent acquaintances. Maxwell is also said to have molested some of the girls. In the indictment against the 59-year-old Briton, the prosecutor's office summarized the allegations of criminal offenses such as "transporting minors for the purpose of unlawful sexual activity" and "recruiting minors for illegal sexual intercourse".

While prosecutors and defense argued over victims, witnesses and experts for the past 16 months, Maxwell sat in a cell in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. The presiding judge Alison Nathan had turned down the last request of her attorneys for the time being to have her released on bail of more than 20 million dollars two weeks ago. Since Maxwell went into hiding after Epstein's death and reduced her fortune, there was a risk of escape. The former It girl of the London Upper Crust, a daughter of the British media mogul Robert Maxwell, complained about the prison conditions. The concrete bed is too hard, maggots have been added to the food and the ten square meters of the permanently lit cell is too small.

The defense accuses the federal attorney's office that the Maxwell trial is just a proxy war at all.

After Epstein's suicide in a cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York two years ago, a judgment was needed.

Ian Maxwell, the defendant's brother, called the trial on Friday "the most critically acclaimed trial of the century".

An honest answer can also be a pseudo-memory

As leaked in recent weeks, the defense is trying a rather unusual thesis. In the next six weeks of the trial, she tries to prove that Maxwell's feeding of potential victims, the so-called grooming, had nothing to do with Epstein's sexual assault. To this end, the lawyers had the renowned forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz put on the list of experts. Dietz, known from trials against serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski and Reagan assassin John Hinckley, is supposed to refute the prosecutor's allegation that Maxwell, as Epstein's pimp, trained girls for him and his entourage. “The prosecution assumes that there is such a thing as proxy grooming. Dr. But Dietz is not aware of any cases of this kind, ”summarized the defense.

The statements of the four invited victims should meanwhile shake the psychologist Elizabeth Loftus.

Loftus, who was also heard in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial, is considered an expert on the phenomenon of false memory.

As a defense expert, she should explain to the jury that the emotional, honest testimony of a victim can also be a pseudo-memory.

Meanwhile, Maxwell protests her innocence

Instead of psychiatric theories, most observers of the Epstein / Maxwell case had hoped for revelations about possible prominent accomplices. As it became known after Epstein's arrest in the summer of 2019, the former teacher and his ex-girlfriend maintained close contacts with personalities such as the late AI researcher Marvin Minsky, Prince Andrew, Microsoft founder Bill Gates as well as the former American presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey and celebrity attorney Alan Dershowitz are also said to be on the passenger lists of Epstein's private plane, known as the Lolita Express. Maxwell also noted in a notebook who was visiting the Pleasure Palace, Epstein's Florida property. The secret notes remain secret. As Judge Nathan announcedfrom Maxwell's now famous Black Book she only allows the pages on alleged victims, listed in the "Massage" section, as evidence.

Meanwhile, Maxwell protests her innocence. "I have not committed a crime," she assured the court at a hearing a few days ago. Your defenders go further. Maxwell is not a perpetrator, but a victim. After the death of her father, whose naked body was recovered from the Canary Islands at the end of 1991, she made Epstein the new, strong man in her life. “Jeffrey Epstein was a brilliant man with qualities every psychiatrist knows. Like many people who make it to power and money, he used his halo effect to surround himself with people he could direct at will, ”the lawyers tried to paint the picture of a manipulated defendant. Grooming-by-proxy,false memories and now the halo effect? The defense seems to be betting on confusion among the jury. If the strategy doesn't work, Maxwell can expect up to 80 years in prison.