Ghislaine Maxwell attorneys defend ‘villainised’ shopper by attacking victims

A day earlier, Jane instructed the court docket that Maxwell was typically there, however Menninger identified the she’d instructed investigators in 2019 she didn’t have a selected reminiscence of that. “I don’t recall,” Jane answered.

Menninger cross-examined certainly one of Maxwell’s accusers, as did Sternheim. Kathryn Miller, a professor at Cardozo Regulation College, mentioned ladies had been typically tasked with difficult the testimony of feminine sex-abuse victims.

Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein on the Queen’s Balmoral cabin.Credit score:US District Lawyer’s Workplace

“The confrontational strategy of cross-examination might be seen by the jury as re-traumatising or blaming the sufferer, significantly when defence counsel is male and the sufferer is feminine,” Miller mentioned.

“Defence groups will typically elect to have a feminine member cross-examine alleged sexual abuse victims to decrease these considerations. Seeing a feminine group member categorical doubt concerning the witness’s story provides the jury permission to do the identical.”

Unpopular Shoppers

Sternheim on Monday challenged “Kate,” the second feminine accuser to testify, citing her previous substance abuse points.

“Your testimony about experiences had been throughout a time if you had been abusing medication?” Sternheim requested. Kate denied her reminiscence had been affected by medication.

Sternheim “is well-accustomed to representing people who find themselves judged harshly within the media,” mentioned Barbara O’Connor, who was co-counsel along with her within the defence of Khaled al-Fawwaz, Osama bin Laden’s U.Ok. spokesman, who was convicted and and sentenced to life in jail on prices associated to the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Menninger, a Stanford Regulation College graduate who briefly labored at Goldman after faculty, has a deep familiarity with the claims in opposition to Maxwell from the prolonged civil litigation. In depositions in these circumstances, Menninger might be each bit as aggressive as she’s been on cross-examination.

In 2013, she efficiently represented Nationwide Hockey League goalie Semyon Varlamov, getting home assault prices dropped and likewise securing him a $126,000 civil judgment on the grounds that his ex-girlfriend fabricated the declare to attempt to get cash from him.

‘Cry on Command?’

Final week, Menninger tried to counsel Jane was as much as one thing comparable. Together with asking concerning the $5 million settlement Jane acquired from Epstein’s property, the lawyer identified that the witness was an expert actress.

“You possibly can cry on command?” Menninger requested.

“No, not at all times,” Jane replied.

The suggestion {that a} witness was appearing known as to thoughts comparable cross-examinations in the course of the trial of Harvey Weinstein. Maxwell’s group has employed as an skilled Elizabeth Loftus, the identical outstanding psychologist who testified in Weinstein’s trial that the film mogul’s accusers might need “false recollections”.

However the defence should additionally present Maxwell isn’t Epstein. That could be a problem given the lengthy, clearly shut and extremely profitable relationship she had with him. Prosecutors confirmed jurors a sequence of images of them collectively as a pair, and likewise put former Epstein workers on the stand who mentioned she was his “girl of the home” and “No. 2.” A JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker testified on Monday that Epstein transferred greater than $30 million to Maxwell between 1999 and 2007.

Ghislaine Maxwell with her father, British media tycoon and fraudster Robert Maxwell, in 1987.

Ghislaine Maxwell along with her father, British media tycoon and fraudster Robert Maxwell, in 1987.
Credit score:Apha Press/Australscope

‘Halo Impact’

Maxwell’s attorneys have proposed calling as a witness forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, who testified for the prosecution within the circumstances in opposition to would-be presidential murderer John Hinckley Jr. and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, to testify that Epstein exuded a “Halo impact” upon Maxwell.

Based on Dietz, Epstein used his wealth, charisma, and standing “to encompass himself with individuals who would serve his wants” whereas “compartmentalising” what they knew about his actions.

Prosecutors objected to Dietz’s “Halo impact” testimony. US District Decide Alison Nathan mentioned the psychiatrist couldn’t apply the Halo impact to Epstein as a result of he’d by no means examined him, however he may inform the jury concerning the phenomenon’s existence.

“The testimony could also be related to the jury’s dedication of Ms Maxwell’s data as a result of it may clarify how, for instance, Ms Maxwell took actions that resulted in sexual abuse however with none intent or data of that outcome,” the decide mentioned.

One other witness who may handle that problem is Maxwell herself. Although prison defendants not often testify in their very own defence, there have lately been some high-profile examples.

Kyle Rittenhouse made an emotional look on the stand and was in the end acquitted of killing two males throughout chaotic 2020 riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Former Theranos Chief Govt Officer Elizabeth Holmes simply completed seven days of testimony in her fraud trial.

‘Powerful Gamble’

Cheryl Bader, a professor at Fordham Regulation College, mentioned Maxwell faces a troublesome selection. “The defence’s most important technique is to discredit prosecution witnesses, put Epstein centre stage and draw as little consideration to Maxwell as attainable,” she mentioned. “To maintain with that technique, they could wish to preserve her off the stand and never danger that she makes her state of affairs worse on cross-examination.”


A serious concern for the defence is how jurors will react to Maxwell. “If the jury thinks Maxwell is attempting to control them, they may punish her,” mentioned Bader.

“Then again, it is going to be troublesome to persuade the jury that Maxwell was simply one other of Epstein’s victims if she doesn’t testify. It’s a troublesome gamble, however I feel it’s possible she’s going to keep silent.”

Maxwell additionally faces two perjury prices for mendacity underneath oath in a civil lawsuit and prosecutors may cross-examine her on these if she takes stand.


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