The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, British socialite and one-time lover of Jeffrey Epstein, is now underway with the prosecution strongly asserting that Maxwell used her power and influence to groom vulnerable teenagers for Epstein to sexually abuse, sometimes with her participating in the acts.
Maxwell, 59, is accused of helping Epstein sexually abuse four young girls in the time period between 1994-2004, with prosecutors alleging that she spent copious amounts of time grooming the girls for her lover and partner. Maxwell used to buy the girls lingerie, talk to them about sexual topics and gradually get them to message Epstein the prosecution said.
"She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused," Assistant District Attorney Lara Pomerantz said in her opening statement. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of sex trafficking and other crimes, including two counts of perjury that will be tried at a later date.
Maxwell's defense has argued that she is being used as a scapegoat for the crimes of financier Jeffrey Epstein who had connections with some of the wealthiest and most powerful people on the planet. Epstein committed suicide in jail under suspicious circumstances in 2019 shortly before he was due to go on trial for sexual abuse allegations.
The lawyers for Maxwell said that the memories surrounding the alleged grooming and sexual assault had been manipulated through payouts made in Epstein's name as well as external influences who had a stake in convicting Maxwell.