Some victims of Jeffrey Epstein have been waiting for this for twenty years.
More than two years after the suicide in prison of the pedophile, the trial of his ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell began Monday in New York.
And in its opening statement, the prosecution described her as a "dangerous woman" who "recruited and prepared" underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein, but also "participated" in some assaults.
The daughter of the late press mogul Robert Maxwell, aged 59, has been detained in the United States since the summer of 2020 and faces life in prison after debates which are to last six weeks and during which the twelve jurors will have to determine if she participated in the widespread sex trafficking accused the businessman, who died in prison in 2019.
Concretely, she is suspected of having played the role of "tout", by recruiting between 1994 and 2004 underage girls sexually exploited by Jeffrey Epstein, with whom she maintained for nearly 30 years a loving, friendly and professional relationship.
She “was dangerous.
She was preparing young girls to be attacked by a predator "by putting them at ease, in confidence, and by pretending to give them importance, described the prosecutor Lara Pomerantz in opening the debates.
Two complainants at the time aged 14 and 15
the accusation is based on four anonymous plaintiffs - two of whom were only 14 and 15 years old - who say they were approached by "touts", including Ghislaine Maxwell, near their school or at their work.
After the cinema and shopping "with girlfriends", the young girls were persuaded for a few hundred dollars to come and give a massage, presented as non-sexual, to a powerful New Yorker ready to take their career off the ground.
"She won their trust" but "she knew exactly what Epstein was going to do to these children when she sent them to her massage rooms," said the prosecutor, who spoke of the "nightmare" of the victims.
According to the prosecution, Ghislaine Maxwell would also have participated in sexual assaults with her companion, at her home in London or at home, in Manhattan, Florida or even in New Mexico.
" Scapegoat "
One of Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers, Bobbi Sternheim, on the contrary portrayed her as "the target of the anger of women who have been or who think they have been abused by Epstein".
The defense called not to make Ghislaine Maxwell "a scapegoat", instead of the protagonist, Jeffrey Epstein, whose suicide deprived his victims of a trial.
The Franco-American-Briton, who complained about her conditions of detention, said she was innocent and pleaded not guilty to the six charges.
She should not speak at the hearing.
Lawyer Bobbi Sternheim also pointed out that the alleged crimes dated back more than 20 years, suggesting that the plaintiffs had vague memories even "falsified" by the media and the expectation of receiving a large sum of money.
"Like a couple"
Lawrence Visoski, Jeffrey Epstein's pilot from 1991 to 2019 and first witness called by the prosecution, described a relationship "almost like a couple" traveling to other corners of the planet.
The shadow of British Prince Andrew, a close friend of Jeffrey Epstein, will also hover over the trial.
He has been the subject since August of a separate complaint for "sexual assault" filed by an American, Virginia Giuffre.
This complaint should be examined at the end of 2022 in a civil court in New York, even if the second son of Queen Elizabeth II is not prosecuted and denies these facts which would have taken place between 2000 and 2002, when Virginia Giuffre was a minor. .
Other names could be cited in the Maxwell trial: former US presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, due to their presence at New York parties, and former French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, friend of 'Epstein, indicted and imprisoned in Paris in December 2020 for rape and sexual assault.
Epstein affair: Shadow of the pedophile, Prince Andrew, Jean-Luc Brunel… The stakes of the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell
Epstein case: Beginning of the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, ex-companion of the late American billionaire
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