Maxwell Says Will Not Testify in Her Defense in Federal Sex Trafficking Trial
20:36 GMT 17.12.2021 (Updated: 13:27 GMT 06.08.2022)
© REUTERS / JANE ROSENBERGGhislaine Maxwell watches as witness Eva Andersson is questioned by defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca during the trial of Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., December 17, 2021.
© REUTERS / JANE ROSENBERG
The highly-publicized trial of the ex-girlfriend and alleged "madam" of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein continues in New York. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to accusations that she was recruiting and grooming young girls for him to have sex with.
Former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell said on Friday that she will not testify in her criminal sex abuse trial in her own defense.
During the trial, the 59-year-old's defense attorneys have repeatedly stressed that she is being made a scapegoat for Epstein's crimes.
According to reports from the courtroom, presiding Judge Alison Nathan gave Maxwell one hour during a lunch break to decide whether she would take the stand.
"Your honor, the government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and so there is no reason for me to testify," Maxwell said before the court upon returning.
Maxwell reportedly sounded confident when stating this. Her lawyer Bobbi Sternheim was standing next to her, with her arm around Maxwell's lower back.
Soon after the defendant's statement, her defense rested its case in the trial after two days of presentation.
All in all, Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of sex trafficking and other crimes.
Defendants in criminal cases in the US are not obligated to testify, and many do not, because prosecutors bear the burden of proof.
Maxwell's Defense Questions 'False Memory' Expert, Casting Doubt on Possibly 'Corrupted' Accusations
17 December 2021, 11:12 GMT
Maxwell's legal team has reportedly lined up 35 witnesses, including a false memory expert, to discredit the earlier testimony of four female victims who claim Maxwell "groomed" them for sexual abuse by Epstein.
Earlier, Maxwell was reportedly declared "too fragile" to testify, because she would not be able to "to acquit herself properly." One of the reasons for that was reportedly significant concerns over her health.
The disgraced financier was found dead in his solitary confinement in a Manhattan jail awaiting his own trial. According to the authorities, Epstein committed suicide.
The closing arguments are expected to take place on Monday. The trial, which began on November 29, is progressing considerably more quickly than the six-week period anticipated by both sides, according to reports.