‘I never thought this day would come.’ Ghislaine Maxwell ‘victim’ Sarah Ransome arrives at NYC courthouse as Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘madam’ goes on trial for sex trafficking TODAY in much-anticipated case
Ghislaine Maxwell‘s highly-anticipated sex trafficking trial is set to begin on Monday in New York where she is facing 80 years in prison if she’s found guilty.
Maxwell, 59, is charged with recruiting and grooming four underage girls for billionaire pedophile and one-time boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein from 1994 to 2004. Epstein died by suicide in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell before he could be tried on sex abuse charges.
Sarah Ransome, one of several women who have accused Epstein and Maxwell of abuse, was seen arriving at the courthouse Monday morning. Ransome, who was born in South Africa to wealthy British parents, claimed she tried to escape Epstein’s ‘pedophile island’ through shark-invested waters after being raped three times in one day, however she will not be testifying.
As she arrived, she told reporters: ‘I never thought this day would come.’
Maxwell has been awaiting trial in a ‘hell-hole’ Brooklyn prison since her arrest last July. The trial will stretch to mid-January with opening statements beginning on Monday.
Lawyers for the British socialite are expected to focus on undermining her accusers and distancing her from Epstein, according to legal experts and court filings.
Sarah Ransome, one of several women who have accused Epstein and Ghislaine of sexual abuse, was seen arriving to the courthouse
Isabel Maxwell, the sister of Ghislaine Maxwell, arrives at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on Monday
Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial begins today in New York where the 59-year-old socialite faces 80 years in prison if convicted
Maxwell, 59, who is accused of procuring underage girls for pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is set to stand trial on sex trafficking charges on November 29. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges
Media and members of the public line up outside the Manhattan Federal Courthouse ahead of the start of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial
Lines formed outside the New York courthouse today two hours before the start of Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial.
Maxwell’s sister Isabel Maxwell was also seen arriving at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on Monday.
Ian Maxwell has claimed his sister is being unfairly demonized because of her association with Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 before he could be brought to justice on child sex charges.
Maxwell’s legal team has repeatedly made claims about her alleged mistreatment behind bars. She is shown in prison earlier this year with ‘a black eye’
He said his sibling was ‘paying a heavy price, a blood price’, for the crimes of her former lover – for whom Ghislaine now stands accused of procuring underage girls.
Ian Maxwell also said his sister was being railroaded by a criminal justice system intent on holding someone responsible for Epstein’s crimes.
‘This is ‘the most over-hyped trial of the century without a doubt,’ Maxwell said.
‘This is designed to break her; I can’t see any other way to read it. … And she will not be broken because she believes completely in her innocence and she is going to give the best account she can.’
In what is being viewed as a risky strategy in the post-#MeToo era, the defense will question the credibility of four women who say she groomed them as teenagers for Epstein to abuse, arguing that their memories are faulty or that they are motivated by financial incentives to lie or exaggerate.
Whether or not her her tech CEO spouse Scott Borgerson will be there to support Maxwell is very much in question. Borgerson surfaced hundreds of miles away in Manchester-by-the-Sea last week, seen for the first time in over a year by DailyMail.com.
Questions about the true nature of their relationship remain. Prosecutors revealed the couple is married, but they managed to keep it a secret even from some close relatives.
DailyMail.com has been unable to find any marriage license, or divorce papers, filed under their names in town or in the county where they were living.
Journalists were among the first to arrive at the courthouse on Monday morning
Journalists set up their live shots outside the Manhattan Federal Courthouse where Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial is set to start today
Barriers were set up outside the courthouse where a heavy media presence is expected
Lawyers for Maxwell say they plan to call American psychologist Elizabeth Loftus to testify about ‘false memories.’
Last week a judge ruled that the administrators of Epstein’s victims’ compensation fund must provide records of claims made by women who accuse Ghislaine Maxwell of playing a role in their having been sexually abused.
US District Judge Alison Nathan rejected requests by the fund’s administrators and by federal prosecutors to quash the subpoena for the records by Maxwell’s lawyers.
Nathan will review the materials Maxwell wants to see before deciding which can be turned over.
The defense have said four accusers expected to testify against her have made claims to the fund, which paid out more than $121million to about 138 people.
The defense sought records from the fund related to payments to the women and statements they made, court records show. Prosecutors called the records irrelevant.
At a pre-trial conference last week, Nathan also deferred a ruling on whether or not to admit an address book for Maxwell that prosecutors said contained contact information for at least one alleged victim.
Maxwell’s lawyers had questioned the address book’s authenticity.
Maxwell denies all allegations against her, which cover a period between 1994 to 2004.
Maxwell’s hair, which had grown out from her signature pixie cut, looked recently washed and noticeably more lustrous than her last appearance last week. She is pictured in 2013
The six charges against Ghislaine Maxwell:
Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts (5 years max sentence)
Enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts (20 years)
Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity (20 years)
Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity (10 years minimum, life maximum)
Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
Sex Trafficking of a Minor
Ghislaine Maxwell also faces two charges of perjury but those counts are due to be tried after her sex crimes trial.
The charges relate to testimony she gave in 2016 in a defamation case filed against her by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre.
Prosecutors say Maxwell groomed three girls between 1994 and 1997 for Epstein.
They are not named in the indictment, but she allegedly targeted them in London, Florida, New York and New Mexico.
Maxwell, it is alleged, would befriend the girls by asking them about their life and their schooling. She would put them at ease by taking them to the movies and taking them shopping, winning their trust to later deliver them to Epstein, it’s alleged.
To ‘normalize’ the abuse that would come later, prosecutors say she undressed in front of the girls herself and asked them sexual questions.
She then not only facilitated Epstein abusing them, prosecutors say, but took part in some of it herself.
The alleged sex abuse includes ‘sexualized group massages’.
The indictment also says Maxwell made the girl feel ‘indebted’ to Epstein by encouraging them to take money from him and let him pay for their education and travel.
At least four accusers are set to testify against Maxwell with three of them being granted anonymity.
But one of Epstein’s most well-known accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, will not take to the stand in Maxwell’s trial despite naming names of those who took part in the billionaire’s alleged trafficking ring, reports revealed Monday.
It is not yet clear why she is not being called to testify in Maxwell’s trial, but Giuffre’s lawyers has suggested his client was not part of the case against the socialite because she was 17 at the time, which is over the age of consent in some of the locations where her alleged abuse is said to have taken place.
Giuffre has spoken openly over the years about the alleged abuse and described Maxwell as ‘pure evil’, saying: ‘Epstein was a sick pedophile but Maxwell was the mastermind.’
She has claimed in media interviews and various depositions that Epstein, together with Maxwell trafficked her to powerful men.
Although she won’t be appearing on the stand, Giuffre is said to be planning on holding off-the-record remote briefings for reporters throughout the trial from her home in Australia, according to Vanity Fair.
Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, in June 2019 with her six living siblings. Ian Maxwell, her older brother, top right, shared it this weekend. A month after it was taken, Jeffrey Epstein was arrested and Ghislaine went into hiding with her husband, Scott Borgerson. The siblings, L-R, are: Anne, 73, Kevin, 62, twins Isabel and Christine, 70, Philip, 71, and Ian, 64
It’s still an open question whether Maxwell’s husband Scott Borgerson will take the trek to New York to attend the trial in support of his wife
Maxwell’s legal team and family have argued that she is being prosecuted as a proxy for Epstein, 66, who died in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges, in what New York’s official coroner ruled a suicide.
Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages, but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then-state prosecutor.
His suicide deprived dozens of his accusers their day in court and launched countless conspiracy theories, including that he was killed to protect powerful friends.
Judge Nathan has four times rejected Maxwell’s bail requests, noting the ease with which the holder of US, French and British citizenships could use wealth and global connections to flee.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre will not be testifying during Maxwell’s trial but will be giving off-the-record briefings to reporters. She has previously claimed she was forced to have sex with Andrew. The Duke of York has consistently denied all sexual allegations made against him
Giuffre (right with Prince Andrew), has been one of Epstein’s most vocal accusers but she will not be testifying at the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. She has long claimed that she was a victim of Epstein’s sex trafficking ring throughout the early 2000s when she was a teenager (Ghislaine can be seen, pictured right)
Following the death of Epstein – a multimillion-dollar money manager who befriended countless celebrities including Britain’s Prince Andrew – prosecutors vowed to pursue co-conspirators, resulting in Maxwell’s arrest in July 2020.
She has since been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where she has repeatedly complained of unsanitary and inhumane conditions.
‘I have been assaulted and abused for almost a year and a half,’ she said in comments carried by Britain’s Mail on Sunday, adding that guards interrupt her sleep and shine bright lights in her eyes.
‘I am weak, I am frail. I have no stamina. I am tired. I don’t even have shoes which fit properly. They feed me rotten food. One apple had maggots in it. I have not been allowed to exercise,’ she said, also complaining of rats in her cell.
Maxwell’s alleged crimes occurred between 1994 and 2004, and relate to four unnamed women, including two who say they were just 14 and 15 years old when they were sexually abused.
Prosecutors say Maxwell befriended girls with shopping and movie theater trips, later coaxing them into giving Epstein nude massages at his various residences during which he would engage in sex acts before giving them money.
US government attorneys say she sometimes participated in the alleged abuse, at her London home and at Epstein’s properties in Manhattan, Palm Beach and New Mexico.
French-born Maxwell has also been charged with two counts of perjury, which are due to be tried after her sex crimes trial.
The perjury counts relate to testimony she gave in 2016 in a defamation case filed against her by long-time Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre.