Here in New York, opening statements began Monday in the federal sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell — the British socialite who is accused of luring economically disadvantaged girls to be sexually abused by convicted predator and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Prosecutor Lara Pomerantz told jurors, starting in the 1990s, Maxwell would recruit girls for Epstein to sexually abuse, telling the girls they had been hired to give massages. Pomerantz argued Epstein and Maxwell then devised a “pyramid scheme of abuse,” and said the two were “partners in crime.”
At least four women who were sexually abused as children by Epstein will be testifying during the trial, including a survivor who was 14 years old at the time. Maxwell faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted of all counts, including sex trafficking of a minor. Epstein died in a Manhattan jail in 2019; New York’s medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.