Ghislaine Maxwell’s judge tells her lawyers to move it along or rest their case
Ghislaine Maxwell’s legal team appeared to be struggling to mount her defense Friday and was admonished by the judge in the case for delay, one day after the judge had rejected several of their requests related to witnesses they intended to call.
Maxwell’s lawyers said that they would be calling Eva Dubin, the wife of hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin and Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, as a witness in Maxwell’s trial. Maxwell faces six counts related to the sex trafficking of minors and is accused of recruiting and grooming several girls for Epstein’s abuse between 1994 and 2004.
But the defense indicated it was having problems with other witnesses it intends to call.
The 81-year-old owner of the Nags Head pub in London, which is across the street from Maxwell’s former home, can’t get to New York before Monday. Another woman identified as Kelly who worked for Epstein and would be expected to plead the Fifth to avoid self incrimination, had so far ignored a federal subpoena.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan took Maxwell’s lawyers to task for potential delays in bringing their defense.
“You have your next witness or else you rest,” Nathan said. “I’m not delaying the trial.”
Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger pleaded with Nathan for more time.
“Our client’s life is on the line,” Menninger said.
Maxwell’s trial, which began Nov. 29, was originally scheduled to take as much as six weeks, but the prosecution rested its case early, last Friday, Dec. 10. The trial was then put on hold for the first three days of this week due to a scheduling conflict.
Nathan argued that even though the prosecution rested its case early, the defense had plenty of warning about the change in schedule. The defense indicated Thursday that it could rest its case Monday, Dec. 20, leaving open the possibility that the jury could reach a verdict in the case before Christmas, which is also Maxwell’s 60th birthday.
On Thursday, Nathan rejected what she called an “unprecedented” request by Maxwell’s team to allow three of the witnesses the lawyers intended to call to testify using a pseudonym or only by their first name. She also rejected their request to call lawyers who had represented two of her accusers, but allowed them to call a lawyer who had represented another of her accusers, on a limited basis. The defense had sought to call them to argue that the lawyers had convinced their clients to testify against Maxwell to improve their payouts from a fund established to compensate Epstein’s victims as well as various civil suits.
Maxwell’s family indicated earlier that she is not expected to take the stand, telling Britain’s Telegraph that she is “too fragile.”
In Friday’s proceedings, the defense revealed that the FBI had seized millions of documents, data and files from a raid of Epstein’s home in July 2019, the same month he was arrested on sex charges and taken into custody. Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan prison cell in August 2019 in what has been ruled suicide.
Epstein’s arrest came more than a decade after Epstein had agreed to a remarkably lenient plea deal related to his abuse of numerous girls in Palm Beach County, one that was the subject of the Miami Herald’s 2018 Perversion of Justice series. Maxwell was arrested on a 156-acre estate in New Hampshire roughly one year after Epstein’s arrest and has been held in federal custody since then.
Eva Dubin, who Maxwell’s team will be calling in her defense, was a Swedish model who dated Epstein for more than a decade before marrying Dubin in 1994. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s most prominent accusers, has indicated that she was directed to have sex with Glenn Dubin and a former employee of the Dubins testified in a 2015 civil suit brought by Giuffre against Maxwell that he had encountered a 15-year-old nanny for the Dubin’s who was in tears and told him that she had been taken to Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and forced to have sex with Epstein and friends of his. The employee, Rinaldo Rizzo, said that the nanny told him she had been physically threatened by Epstein and Maxwell, who had seized her passport to keep her on the island.