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It’s over. In a surprise move, the defense for Ghislaine Maxwell rested their case Friday afternoon in her sex trafficking trial in federal court. Closing arguments are set to begin Monday morning. The trial had been expected to last up to six weeks, instead, thus far, it has taken a mere 12 days.
The first defense witness of the day was FBI Special Agent Jason Richards who interviewed Maxwell accuser and witness Carolyn, who had testified under only her first name that the defendant and Jeffy Epstein had sexually abused her when she was 14.
In Richards’ testimony, it was revealed that he interviewed Carolyn in 2006, at which time she allegedly told him that she had obtained Epstein’s phone number from the phone book and that it was Epstein, not Maxwell, who called her back. This is at odds with the account Carolyn gave during the trial.
Next, another special agent, this time Amanda Young, took to the plexiglass-contained witness box. Again, this testimony focused on an interview with an accuser; this time the woman who testified under the fake name Jane, who Young met with in 2019.
In a key piece of that interview, Young confirmed that “Jane was not sure if Maxwell ever called her to make appointments” for sexualized massages. The report from the interview, known as a “302,” also stated that Jane was not sure if she had ever been in a room with just Epstein and Maxwell.
After the morning break, Eva Andersson Dubin, a former girlfriend of Epstein’s and former Miss Universe contestant, was sworn in. Dr. Dubin, an internist, now lives in New York City with her husband Glenn Dubin. She dated Epstein from 1983 to 1990 or 1991, off and on. She and her husband remained friends with Epstein and Maxwell and were frequent guests on his private planes.
The defense team asked about Epstein’s relationship with her three children, who as kids referred to him, somewhat oddly, as Uncle F. She testified that she was comfortable with the relationship her kids, including two daughters, had with Epstein. In an awkward moment even for a trial replete with them, Dubin was asked if she ever engaged in group sex or group sexualized massages with Epstein. She replied simply, “Absolutely not.”
On cross-examination, when Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe asked Dubin if Epstein and Maxwell had an open relationship when they [Epstein and Maxwell] dated, the former girlfriend of Epstein said, “I can’t say if I know, if they did or did not.” At the end of the cross, Moe asked if Dubin had any memory issues, and it turns out she allegedly does, testifying that owing to what she believes is a medical condition, it is hard for her to remember deep into the past or even events as recent as a month ago.
The final witness of the trial was Michelle Healy, a former receptionist and assistant of Epstein’s and Maxwell’s. Of working for the latter, she stated that “She was fantastic; she taught me a lot. I respected her; she was tough but she was great.” Healy testified that she never saw any “inappropriate behavior with teenage females.” She was also asked if she ever got frisky with Epstein in a group setting and gave the very same answer as Dubin, “Absolutely not.”
With that, the trial broke for lunch, and broke and broke and broke. Over two hours later, confused journalists were pacing the halls of the Thurgood Marshall federal courthouse, or smoking on the front steps trying to figure out exactly what was going on. There had been matters discussed in the morning involving outstanding witnesses and their potential availability.
When Judge Alison Nathan reappeared behind the bench, it became clear that counsel for both sides had agreed to a slew of stipulations to statements that witnesses would give, in lieu of live testimony. These were mainly technical matters involving the exact dates of events or perceptions from the released witnesses.
Closing arguments are always important, but in this case, arguably more so than usual, as both the prosecution and defense cases turned out to be brief, and frankly, disjointed. There are many loose ends for both sides to tie up. The prosecution will hammer home how close Epstein and Maxwell were, and that she must have known what was going on. The defense will seek to call into doubt her accusers, and also point to a lack of hard evidence on the specific charges of enabling or enticing a minor to cross state or international borders for sex.
Maxwell herself did not testify. Asked Friday by the judge if she would, she stood up, her attorney Bobbi Sternheim’s arm draped upon her shoulder, and said in her posh British accent, “The government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, so there is no need for me to testify.” But that, of course, will be for the jury to decide in its deliberations, which will likely begin on Tuesday.