Ghislaine Maxwell declines to testify as defense rests case
NEW YORK (AP) — After 12 days of testimony over three weeks, jurors heard from the final witnesses Friday in the sex trafficking trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who told the judge she wouldn’t testify because she was confident prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.
Closing arguments are now set for Monday in the trial, in which Maxwell is accused of helping the wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse four teenage girls.
The defense rested its case after a tight two days of presenting witnesses who attested to Maxwell’s character or said they hadn’t witnessed any wrongdoing.
U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan asked Maxwell, 59, to stand up, and explained she had the right to testify, if she wished.
“Your Honor, the government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt so there is no reason for me to testify,” Maxwell responded. As she spoke, her lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, stood at her side, her arm wrapped around her lower back.
Maxwell has been accused by multiple women in civil lawsuits of running a yearslong operation to recruit teenage girls and young women to give sexualized massages to Epstein. One woman has said she was also coerced by the pair into sexual encounters with numerous famous men, including Britain’s Prince Andrew.
Prosecutors, though, have kept the case narrowly focused on Maxwell’s interactions with four girls from 1994 to 2004. During that span, Maxwell was romantically involved with and then later worked for Epstein.
Maxwell’s lawyers offered a spirited defense, portraying her as a scapegoat targeted by the government because prosecutors could no longer bring Epstein to justice after he killed himself at a federal lockup in August 2019 while awaiting his own sex trafficking trial.
While she did not testify before the jury, Maxwell seemed active in her defense throughout the past three weeks of the trial, frequently writing notes to her lawyers and hugging them as she entered and left court each day.
On the last day of testimony, her lawyers called one of Epstein’s one-time paramours to the stand: a former Miss Sweden, New York City doctor and tabloid fixture who told the jury that she trusted the financier with her young daughters and denied taking part in a group sexual encounter with a key accuser.
Eva Andersson-Dubin, 60, testified that she dated Epstein “off and on” from 1983 to the early 1990s, before he dated Maxwell.
Epstein and Andersson-Dubin remained friends after breaking up and, in 1994, she married another moneyed financier, Glenn Dubin, with whom she had three children.
One of the key accusers in the Maxwell trial, identified in court only as “Jane” to protect her identity, testified that a woman named “Eva” joined a group sexual experience with Epstein.
On Friday, Andersson-Dubin was asked by one of Maxwell’s attorneys if she had ever been in a group sexual encounter with Jane.
“Absolutely not,” she responded.
Asked if she had ever been in a group sexualized massage of Epstein with Jane, she responded: “I have not.”
The Dubins have denied knowing anything about Epstein’s sexual misconduct, but were publicly supportive of Epstein when he initially was prosecuted and convicted of sex crimes in Florida in 2008.
Another Epstein accuser whose allegations are not part of Maxwell’s trial, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has said that she was trafficked to Glenn Dubin, among other powerful men, all of whom have denied her accounts.
As the Dubin children — including two daughters — grew up, they sometimes joined their parents on flights with Epstein, Andersson-Dubin said.
She testified that Epstein was fond of her children and the children viewed him like an uncle, sometimes calling him “Uncle F,” an apparent abbreviation of his name, minus the “J.”
When Andersson-Dubin was asked by a defense lawyer if she ever witnessed any inappropriate conduct between Epstein and teenage girls, she responded: “I did not.”
The judge told jurors Friday afternoon to return at 9 a.m. Monday for closing arguments, which are expected to take several hours. Then, she’ll instruct them on the law and deliberations will begin.