This week, defense attorneys for Ghislaine Maxwell, who has long been accused of recruiting and grooming girls for her late former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to abuse, got a chance to call witnesses to the stand to testify in their client’s favor.
However, on Friday, the defense claimed that several of their witnesses had fallen through all at once as one refused to testify despite a subpoena, one planned to plead the Fifth and a third will no longer provide virtual testimony, citing “technical issues.”
What’s more, a fourth elderly English man — who Maxwell’s lawyers say could verify that the British socialite had not lived in a London mansion that one of the witnesses had pointed to as the scene of the abuse she was subject to — has not yet been able to fly stateside to do so and would not be able to sooner than Monday, as the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported.
This prompted federal District Court Judge Alison Nathan to impatiently tell the defense she would not delay the trial if they could not produce their missing witnesses.
“You have your witnesses, or you rest,” Nathan said with what The New York Times reported sounded like “a note of exasperation.”
“If this case closes today … it closes today,” the judge also reportedly said.
Ultimately, the defense did indeed rest their case on Friday afternoon, after producing two witnesses who contradicted testimony from “Jane” who alleged they’d been involved in “orgies” with her under Epstein and Maxwell’s guidance when she was underage.
Before the jury was brought in, however, Epstein’s attorneys told the court that one “Kelly,” who they had hoped to bring in to testify, had “refused” to comply with a subpoena and requested that U.S. Marshalls force her to do so.
Nathan, however, was skeptical.
“Why am I hearing about it for the first time now?” she asked, according to the Mail.
Attorney Laura Menninger replied that the defense team for the alleged madame of America’s most notorious pedophile had had “a lot going on.”
“To be honest your honor, it’s a lot of work,” she said.
“A non responsive witness is not a little thing,” the judge said, to which Menninger replied that her client’s “life was on the line” and that they’d only had a day and a half to mount a defense.
Of course, Maxwell was arrested in the summer of last year, so they’ve had a year and a half to mount a defense, which is what prosecutors argued.
Meanwhile, a second witness planned to plead the Fifth Amendment on the stand, which, of course, means that they would depend on the constitutional right not to incriminate themselves.
This is a rather inconvenient move for someone who was presumably going to be able to testify that they didn’t commit sex crimes with the defendant.
The third missing witness was Alexander Hamilton, an Englishman who claimed to have been told by the pseudonymous witness “Jane” that the case had fallen “into her lap.”
He was set to testify as much via video link, but somehow, despite the fact that it’s 2021 and it’s easier than ever to arrange video relays across the world at any point in time, technical difficulties presented this as an impossibility, apparently.
So, to recap, three witnesses who were supposed to be able to undermine claims that Maxwell recruited and groomed underage girls for her wealthy, sex-crazed boyfriend to sexually abuse have either refused to testify or suddenly found a way out of doing so, all at once, forcing the defense to rest.
Now, recall, Epstein and Maxwell have been accused of this illicit business for years, and much attention has been paid to their wealthy and powerful friends who may or may not have also abused the underage girls that Maxwell recruited into their allegedly very sick extracurricular activities.
One of the witnesses called to the stand on Friday before the defense rested was Eva Andersson-Dubin, a former Miss Sweden, wife to the hedge fund billionaire Glenn Dubin, who has been accused by one of Epstein’s accusers of abusing her when she was underage — claims which he has denied.
Andersson-Dubin, along with former Epstein employee, Michelle Healy, both denied claims from “Jane” that they’d been involved in “orgies” or “sexualized massages” with the then-teenager, Epstein and Maxwell.
On Thursday, another former Epstein and Maxwell employee, Cimberly Espinosa, gave a glowing account of the two, yet when pressed by the state admitted she’d never been to Palm Beach, where “Jane” and others have alleged that their sexual abuse largely occurred.
The defense has largely relied on claims that, somehow, all four witnesses called by the state who allege they were groomed by Maxwell fabricated or exaggerated their claims to pin Epstein’s crimes on their client, who is alive while her shadowy and infamous former boyfriend, inconveniently for everyone involved, is not.
Yet three of their own witnesses seem to have gotten cold feet. Hmmm.
Remember, this is probably one of the most significant and closely watched sex abuse cases in a long time, and we can’t forget that many powerful people, including the Clintons and the U.K.’s royal family, have a lot at stake should more of the Epstein sex crime racket come to light.
This is, in fact, what many expected of the case, but it does not appear that anyone wealthy and famous will be named after all.
No one seems to want to go near Maxwell in her defense with a 10 foot poll.
But the only question that really matters now is what the jury will make of all this.