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Lawyers Question Why Maxwell Jury Only Heard From Four Accusers

Bloomberg Equality

More than a hundred women have said they were abused by Jeffrey Epstein, but only four of them were called by prosecutors to testify in the sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, his alleged right-hand woman.

It’s a decision that lawyers who have represented some of those other women question.

The jury began deliberations in the case on Monday and broke for the holidays Wednesday without reaching a verdict. They will reconvene on Dec. 27. 

Robert Lewis, who represents Sarah Ransome, an Epstein victim who has attended the trial but is not testifying, also thinks Maxwell’s lawyers made some inroads with jurors.

“The defense has readied some interesting questions” that the jury will need to discuss, he said. “Some of them might be inclined to acquittal.”

Lewis said prosecutors may have sought to limit the impact of defense claims by putting only four accusers on the stand.

“I imagine they decided to put forward a very focused case, a very simple case,” he said. “If they were to bring in too many victim witnesses, it might give the defense counsel too much ammunition” to confuse and complicate the stories of victim witnesses.

As it was, Lewis thought Maxwell’s team may have been overly aggressive in going after the four women who testified. “Rather than focus on four or five key inconsistencies and really pound those, she had 12,” he said of defense lawyer Laura Menninger. It “made you feel sorry for the witness.”

And Lewis said prosecutor Maurene Comey was very effective in the government’s final words to the jury on Monday. She said that, to acquit Maxwell, they would have to believe that the witnesses “came into this courthouse and committed perjury,” he recalled. 

Ultimately, Lewis thinks the government’s case will prove persuasive.

“I think, after deliberating, they will look at the testimony and evidence” and “will come to the conclusion that she is guilty,” he said.

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