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Ghislaine Maxwell is a powerful socialite known for her affiliation with Jeffrey Epstein and his crimes involving child sex trafficking and sexual abuse. Epstein himself was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida in 2008. Of this 18-month sentence, he only served 13 months. In July 2019, Epstein was arrested again for federal charges of sex-trafficking minors. Before going to trial, he was found dead in his jail cell in August 2019. Despite Epstein’s arrests in 2008 and 2019, Maxwell has never gone to trial until now.

Although many people want to follow along with her case, there is delayed media coverage because they are not allowing cameras in the courtroom since it is a federal criminal trial. So far, here is what we know from the first week of the trial that started on Nov. 29. The trial is being held in Manhattan at Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse. Maxwell is facing six counts from four accusers: one for enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, one for transporting minors with intent to engage in illegal sexual acts, one for sex trafficking minors and three for conspiracy related to her work with Jeffrey Epstein to secure underage girls for sexual acts.

The defense’s main tactic is to blame everything on sexism. They claim that Maxwell is a victim of the patriarchy and a scapegoat for Epstein. Some of the witnesses from the first week of the trial include a victim under the pseudo name Jane, former pilots of Epstein named David Rodgers and Lawrence Visoski Jr., a former Palm Beach police officer who conducted a raid at Epstein’s house and one of Epstein’s former house managers named Juan Alessi. She testified that she met Epstein in seventh or eighth grade. She described how she first met Epstein and Maxwell and how their encounters eventually turned into sexual abuse. When former pilot Rodgers took the stand, he testified that he did recall seeing “Jane” on the plane and that Maxwell was often on these flights. Visoski testified that he never saw anything sexual on a flight. The former police officer who took the witness stand testified about a raid he conducted at Epstein’s house in 2005. He recalled seeing many sexual images of women on the walls. During this raid, investigators seized a massage table perfectly described by Jane, records, computers and sex toys. 

Epstein’s former house manager gave a chilling testimony. He recalled driving Jane to private jets and seeing former president Bill Clinton get on the plane. He also remembered cleaning up massage tables and finding sex toys. While working for Epstein, he was instructed to “see nothing and say nothing.” He described his work as degrading and explained that Maxwell once told him not to make eye contact with Epstein. During Alessi’s testimony, Epstein’s “little black book” made its debut. This book contained a roster of all his most powerful and wealthy contacts as well as the contacts of some of the victims. Alessi testified that the book had the names of Epstein and Maxwell’s top accusers.

Coming up in the trial, we can expect to hear more from witnesses and accusers. This trial has the potential to expose some of the most powerful and elite men for their sex crimes against children. It is expected to last around six weeks, but there are rumors that it could wrap up much sooner. Many are wondering if Maxwell herself will end up taking the stand.

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I'm Emma and I am a junior at Florida State University double majoring in Media/Communication Studies and Marketing. I was born in Jupiter and lived there for my entire life. In my free time I like to workout, listen to music, and write.
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