Now that the Ghislaine Maxwell sex-trafficking trial is in the hands of the jury, lawyers representing some of Epstein’s accusers are asking why just four victims were called by prosecutors (led by the daughter of former FBI Director James Comey).
“They had a mountain of evidence that they could have brought,” said attorney Adam Horowitz, who has represented several Epstein victims, noting that the prosecution “had a very difficult burden and didn’t seem to put on as much evidence forward as I thought they would have.“
Maxwell, who was Epstein’s former girlfriend an subordinate, has been charged with grooming and enticing underage girls for sexual abuse by the convicted pedophile and his friends. He was found dead in a jail cell in 2019 while awaiting his own trial for sex-trafficking, according to Bloomberg.
If convicted, the British socialite faces up to 40 years in prison. Her lawyers argued that she’s being scapegoated for Epstein’s crimes.
“An acquittal wouldn’t surprise me,” said Horowitz. “It’s a difficult case and [the prosecution] put on some really good witnesses, but the defense did a good a job poking holes in some of them.”
Robert Lewis, who represents Sarah Ransome, an Epstein victim who has attended the trial but is not testifying, also thinks Maxwell’s lawyers made some inroads with jurors.
“The defense has readied some interesting questions” that the jury will need to discuss, he said. “Some of them might be inclined to acquittal.”
The lawyers said the defense was relying on an age-old “play-book” of discrediting the four victims who testified. On cross-examination, Maxwell’s lawyers questioned them about inconsistencies between their trial testimony and previous accounts they’ve given to law enforcement or in civil suits. For instance, Carolyn, who testified using only her first name was asked why she said in a lawsuit that Epstein called her on one occasion but attributed the same call to Maxwell on the stand. -Bloomberg
“I think it’s normal for people to tell the same story a little differently each time,” said Horowitz. “But in the context of a jury trial, when it’s sworn testimony, it becomes effective when the defense can poke those holes.”
Maxwell’s team also argued that her accusers’ attorneys influenced their memories with the goal of extracting the largest jury award possible – with each of the accusers having been asked about the millions of dollars they’ve received from earlier settlements.
The accusers denied having any financial incentive to testify, while prosecutors said ‘unequivocally’ that there was no money at stake for the witnesses.
Attorney Lisa Bloom who represents several Epstein victims said that the defense “wants us to believe, without proof, that civil lawyers manipulated the victims’ memories, or that victims’ failure to go after Maxwell years ago means they are lying now,” adding “We don’t believe the jury will buy these lies and myths.”