Ghislaine Maxwell: Trial thrown into disarray as defence struggle to find witness: ‘Our client’s life is on the line’

‘I have a rule, you have your next witness or you rest,’ judge says

Bevan Hurley,Gustaf Kilander
Friday 17 December 2021 16:33

Related video: Court hears four women met Ghislaine Maxwell as teens, accusing her as adults

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Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers begged the judge for more time to locate witnesses, saying “our client’s life is on the line”.

Defence attorney Laura Menninger told Judge Alison Nathan on day 12 of the socialite’s sex trafficking trial that they were struggling to find a witness named Kelly whom they had issued a subpoena to testify.

“I understand that your honour runs a tight ship,” she said. “We are flying people across the country, across the pond, our client’s life is on the line, and we are given only a half a day to put on a witness.”

Prosecutor Maurene Comey said the defence had ample time to arrange their witnesses during a five-day break in the trial.

“We strongly disagree with the suggestion that the defence counsel has been unduly rushed here,” she said.

Judge Nathan said she would not allow a delay in the defence’s case to wait for more witnesses to be found, including one who could only fly in from the UK on Monday.

“I have a rule, you have your next witness or you rest,” she said.

Ms Maxwell has been charged with two counts of transporting individuals across state lines for illegal sexual activity, one charge of sex trafficking of a minor and one charge of sex trafficking conspiracy. She also faces two charges of perjury that will be tried at a later date. She has denied all wrongdoing.

Jeffrey Epstein, Ms Maxwell former partner, died by suicide in August 2019 in his Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex crimes charges.

The judge’s scolding of the defence for not having their witnesses ready came after one of the witnesses became infected with Covid-19, and another witness has chosen to plead the fifth, The Miami Herald reported.

The 81-year-old man was identified as the owner of the Nags Head pub, located across from Ms Maxwell’s former London townhouse. The defence was hoping to have him push back on the memory of one of the accusers who said she met Ms Maxwell at that address.

The defence could rest either on Friday or on Monday and has indicated that they will call three women to take the stand. Called Eva, Michelle, and Kelly, they’re all women who the accuser referred to as “Jane” has said were present during “orgies” that she says she was forced to take part in at a time when she was underage.

Kelly has been subpoenaed but has not responded. The defence wants the US Marshals to step in to force her to testify, but Judge Nathan has appeared to be sceptical of providing the defence with more time.

Epstein’s ex-girlfriend Eva Dubin, a Swedish doctor and former model is expected to testify for the defence on Friday. She dated Epstein for 11 years. Ms Dubin’s husband, hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin, has been publicly accused of having sex with Virginia Roberts when she was an underage teenager – a claim Mr Dubin has forcefully rejected.

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