Testimonies from the four women in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sexual abuse trial paint a damaging picture of the British socialite’s alleged grooming behavior, experts say.
Prosecutors in the case against Maxwell, who is accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, closed their case on Friday after a fourth and final accuser named Annie Farmer spoke up .
Earlier, three other women testified against Maxwell, 59, a longtime associate of Epstein who faces six counts of sex trafficking.
The first accuser, using the pseudonym Jane, concluded the first week of the trial, while the second woman, testifying under the pseudonym Kate, took the witness stand on Monday. Jurors heard from Maxwell’s third accuser, who testified by his first name, Carolyn, on Tuesday.
Maxwell has maintained his innocence in this matter and has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
As Maxwell prepares to mount a defense in the trial, with proceedings resuming on December 16, experts say the four victims testifying present a cohesive account of the grooming conduct – something that will give their credibility to them. affirmations.
âJurors often have a full view of allegations of sexual misconduct where the smoke is,â said Jill Huntley Taylor, CEO of Taylor Trial Consulting. News week.
Victim 1: Jeanne
The first victim to appear, Jane, of Florida, testified on November 30 that the abuse she suffered during her multiple encounters with Epstein, from the age of 14, made “my heart sink in my heart. stomach â.
She said she was sitting at a picnic table with friends at a summer arts camp in Michigan, when a “tall, thin woman” with a “cute little Yorkie” walked past her. She suffered years of sexual abuse after meeting Maxwell in 1994, she told the court.
Jane, now in her 40s, testified that Epstein and Maxwell would drive her to a massage table and Maxwell would ask her to touch Epstein sexually.
Talk with News week, Dr Ziv Cohen, founder and medical director of Principium Psychiatry in New York, said that Jane “describes a grooming process in which Ghislaine Maxwell played a vital role”, especially since Maxwell is said to have approached Jane first.
Cohen is a certified forensic psychiatrist and clinician who consults on high-profile criminal cases and has advised the Department of Justice.
“As a woman who could be Jane’s mother, Maxwell would have made Jane let her guard down and put herself in vulnerable situations with a strange adult male,” Cohen said, noting that Maxwell’s alleged grooming behavior is got “intense” when she took Jane shopping. for clothes and at the movies.
âJane describes Maxwell pushing the limits, a classic example of grooming, buying her not only clothes, but Victoria’s Secret underwear as well,â Cohen said. “Maxwell would then have degenerated and started talking about sex with Jane.”
The behavior pattern described by Jane suggests that Maxwell was gifted and experienced at grooming, Cohen said.
Epstein, who would have been present or even participated in the initiated sexual activity, and the young age of the victim, all create a “credible and damaging” image of Maxwell, Cohen added.
Victim 2: Kate
The second woman, Kate, testified on December 6, claiming she was 17 and an aspiring musician when she first met Maxwell, who told her her boyfriend could help her to boost his career.
“I left there feeling elated and like someone wanted to be my friend,” Kate, now 44, recalled a meeting with Maxwell in 1994 at her London townhouse.
When he returned weeks later, Epstein was present and Maxwell asked him to give him a massage, Kate told the court. Weeks later, Epstein was wearing a bathrobe and sex occurred when Maxwell closed the door, Kate said.
Cohen said News week that although Kate has not testified to sexual acts that took place between her and Epstein as a minor, she describes a similar pattern of recruitment by Maxwell into Epstein’s circle, leading to sexual encounters with Epstein.
Details that could be extremely damaging include Maxwell providing her with a “schoolgirl” outfit to serve Epstein a meal, which allegedly led to a sexual encounter.
âIt shows Maxwell serving Epstein’s sexual desires, knowing his fantasies intimately and procuring girls to satisfy them,â Cohen said.
Cohen pointed to a flaw in Maxwell’s attorneys’ argument that their client is only being sued because Epstein is no longer alive.
“A weakness of this argument is that if Epstein did indeed commit crimes, and according to the testimony of the victims, Maxwell was present or participated, then she would bear the responsibility as well,” he explained..
“The power of Jane and Kate’s testimony is that they support the central claim that although Epstein primarily sexually assaulted them, Maxwell was complicit and active in that behavior, âCohen added.
Victim 3: Carolyn
Carolyn, the third of four women named in a 2021 indictment against Maxwell, testified on December 7, alleging that the British socialite lashed out at her when she was underage.
With an alcoholic mother and victim of rape and assault at the hands of her own grandfather since the age of 4, Carolyn was vulnerable, the court heard. She alleged that Maxwell initiated massages that turned sexual from the age of 14. Maxwell allegedly at one point touched his chest and examined his naked body.
Carolyn said she visited Epstein’s house “over 100 times” between the ages of 14 and 18, until Epstein told her she was “too old.”
Talk to News weekTaylor, who has evaluated thousands of jurors in the courtroom and in mock trials, said Carolyn gave “powerful and moving” testimony that supported a pattern of conduct similar to that described by Jane and Kate.
Victims described Maxwell showing the girls what Epstein “liked”, making “dates,” being in the room and even touching and commenting on their bodies, she said, noting that the diagram gives some meaning. credibility to the allegations.
âCarolyn’s story was less a story of opportunity than a story of desperation,â she said.
Taylor noted, however, that while her testimony about returning Epstein at 18 and being “too old” is damning for Epstein, jurors may wonder to what extent Carolyn will be considered a victim. by Maxwell.
To further complicate matters, Carolyn brought a civil action against Epstein and [Sarah] Kellan but did not name Maxwell in this lawsuit, “she added.” Failure to mention Maxwell may bode well for Maxwell and was an area his lawyers aimed to exploit in their Carolyn cross. . “
Victim 4: Annie Farmer
Annie Farmer, Maxwell’s fourth and final accuser, testified on December 10 under her real name. She said the 59-year-old prepared her for sex with Epstein when she was 16.
During a visit to Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico in 1996, Farmer told the court that Maxwell touched her breasts while giving her a massage.
âLike most, Annie Farmer initially felt more comfortable with Ghislaine,â Taylor said: âThis confidence and feeling that a sophisticated older woman would be safe seems key to the grooming allegations. and can be a compelling story for the jury. “
Key to the allegations about Maxwell’s grooming behavior is the fact that all of the victims discussed the “massage” and that Ghislaine introduced them to the “massage” and taught them what Epstein liked, she said. .
“She [Maxwell] attracted them with confidence and downplayed or altered the true nature of what they would do. The massages quickly turned into sex, rape and orgies, âTaylor said.
The victims also discussed Maxwell as someone who set up ‘dates’, introduced them to Epstein, bought them gifts, told them what to do and where to go.
“Jurors generally view such consistency between accounts from multiple victims as lending credibility to the claims,” ââTaylor added.
The trial is expected to last until January.