'too fragile' | 

Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell declines to take the stand as her defence rests its case in sex-trafficking trial

Ghislaine Maxwell speaks with her attorneys during the trial of Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., December 17, 2021. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Ghislaine Maxwell speaks with her attorneys during the trial of Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., December 17, 2021. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Ghislaine Maxwell speaks with her attorneys in a courtroom sketch in New York yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Ghislaine Maxwell speaks with her attorneys in a courtroom sketch in New York yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Meghan Sheets and Josie Ensor© Independent.co.uk

Ghislaine Maxwell declined to take the stand yesterday at her New York trial on sex trafficking charges.

The socialite confirmed she was waving her right to testify on the 12th day of testimony in lower Manhattan’s federal court.

“Your honour, the government has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. So there is no need for me to testify,” she said.

A spokesperson for Ms Maxwell’s family had previously said she was “too fragile” to testify.

After Ms Maxwell addressed the court, the defence rested its case after calling seven witnesses over two days.

Earlier, Ms Maxwell’s attorneys asked the judge for more time to come up with two more witnesses to testify on Monday. “Our client’s life is on the line,” defence attorney Laura Menninger said.

Prosecutor Maurene Comey said the defence had 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 Alison Nathan said she would not allow a delay in the case because: “I have a rule, you have your next witness or you rest.”

Closing arguments are set to begin on Monday at 9am.

Prosecutors said their closing will be two to three hours, with 45 minutes for rebuttal. Ms Maxwell’s attorneys indicated their closing will take around the same amount of time. The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday morning.

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. Among those who had been set to speak in Ms Maxwell’s defence included a person sick with Covid-19, a witness who was refusing to respond to a subpoena to appear in court and an octogenarian pub owner in London.

The defence had planned to call a landlord of a pub opposite Ms Maxwell’s Belgravia flat, who they said would testify that the British socialite did not live there at the time one accuser recalls being abused by Epstein in the massage room.

Kevin Moran, the owner of the Nags Head, was said to be unable to travel to the US to testify until Monday .

Among those who could appear for the defence was Eva Andersson-Dubin, who dated Epstein “on-and-off” from 1983 to 1991 and remained friendly with him. Now married to another financier, Dr Andersson-Dubin said she felt comfortable with her three children being around Epstein, adding that they called him “Uncle F”.

Her husband is hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin, who has been accused of having sex with Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre when she was a teenager. Mr Dubin has denied the claims.

Dr Andersson-Dubin, a Swedish physician, testified that she never observed any inappropriate contact between the multi-millionaire and any teenage girls.

She undermined the claims of the accuser known as Jane, who said that a woman named “Eva” took part in sexualised group massages.

“I don’t recall ever meeting this person,” she said, adding that she had “absolutely not” been involved in a group sexual encounter with the accuser. However, on cross-examination, a prosecutor asked Ms Andersson-Dubin if she had any memory problems.

“It’s very hard for me to remember anything far back and sometimes I can’t remember things from last month.

“My family notices it. I notice it. It’s been an issue.”

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