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Ghislaine Maxwell declines to testify as defense rests case in sex abuse trial By Reuters

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© Reuters. Ghislaine Maxwell speaks along with her legal professional Bobbi Sternheim through the trial of Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein affiliate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., December 16, 2021. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

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By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense rested its case in her sex abuse trial on Friday after the British socialite instructed the choose prosecutors had not confirmed their case past an affordable doubt.

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In two days of testimony from former workers of Jeffrey Epstein, a psychologist specializing in reminiscence, and an ex-girlfriend of the late financier, the defense sought to undercut the testimony of 4 ladies who stated Maxwell set them up for sexual abuse by Epstein after they have been youngsters.

Maxwell, 59, pleaded not responsible to eight counts of sex trafficking and different crimes. Her attorneys argued she is being scapegoated for Epstein’s conduct. Epstein killed himself in 2019 on the age of 66 in a Manhattan jail cell whereas awaiting trial on sex crimes fees.

Maxwell instructed U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan that she wouldn’t testify in her personal defense on Friday.

“Your honor, the federal government has not confirmed the case past an affordable doubt and so there isn’t any want for me to testify,” stated Maxwell, standing up in the courtroom.

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Maxwell’s legal professional Bobbi Sternheim wrapped her arm round her again as she spoke. Defendants in U.S. felony trials will not be required to testify, and infrequently don’t, because the burden of proof is on prosecutors.

Closing arguments in the trial are anticipated on Monday in federal court docket in Manhattan. The jury would then start deliberations.

Nathan suggested jurors to “be cautious on the market” earlier than sending them house for the weekend. COVID-19 circumstances are on the rise in New York, and Nathan earlier on Friday stated she needed to keep away from “pointless delays” to the trial.

“I need to see everyone again right here Monday,” Nathan stated.

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During the trial, Maxwell’s defense sought to painting her 4 accusers as not credible, arguing their reminiscences had been corrupted because the occasions have been stated to have occurred between 1994 and 2004 and that they have been motivated by the prospect of a payout from a compensation fund for Epstein’s victims.

On Friday afternoon, Maxwell legal professional Christian Everdell learn a stipulation agreed upon by each side indicating that an legal professional for one of many ladies, identified by the pseudonym Jane, had instructed her that cooperating with prosecutors may “assist her case,” with out offering particulars.

The lawyer, Robert Glassman, additionally instructed her that cooperating was the “morally proper factor to do,” the stipulation stated.

Jane testified through the trial’s first week that she was awarded $5 million from the fund however didn’t assume taking part in Maxwell’s felony case would assist her declare.

Jurors earlier on Friday heard from an FBI agent who interviewed Jane a number of occasions earlier than Maxwell’s July 2020 arrest. The agent acknowledged that Jane had not initially instructed them she was ever in a room alone with Epstein and Maxwell. Jane testified that Maxwell typically participated in sex acts along with her and Epstein.

Jane, who stated she was 14 when Epstein started abusing her in 1994, testified that “reminiscence isn’t linear.” She additionally stated she was not comfy sufficient throughout her first few conferences with the FBI to share every thing that occurred to her.

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