By Luc Cohen
NEWYORK – Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex abuse trial was set to enter its seventh day on Tuesday, with prosecutors expected to show jurors photographs depicting the British socialite’s relationship with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan denied a request by Maxwell’s attorney on Monday to bar the photos, which FBI agents found on compact disks seized from Epstein’s Manhattan home during a July 2019 search. Epstein was arrested on sex abuse charges that month, and died by suicide in jail weeks later.
The cache of digital photographs also includes images of two women who have accused Maxwell of serving them up to Epstein while they were teenagers. They are depicted in various states of undress, prosecutors indicated on Monday.
Maxwell, 59, faces eight counts of sex trafficking and other charges for allegedly recruiting and grooming teenage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004. She has pleaded not guilty, and her lawyers argue she is being scapegoated for Epstein’s alleged crimes because he is dead.
Nathan agreed with prosecutors’ argument on Monday that the photographs were relevant because they showed the relationship between Maxwell and Epstein, who were a couple during the 1990s. Maxwell worked for Epstein at the time, managing his various personal properties, and retained that role after their romantic partnership fizzled.
Nathan admitted one of the photos of an accuser, which depicts a woman whose case is not included in the indictment, as evidence. She said she would consider whether to admit the other, which is of a woman who testified earlier on Monday under the pseudonym Kate.
In her testimony, Kate said Maxwell introduced her to Epstein in London when she was 17 and that she then had several sexual encounters with him. Nathan has instructed the jury that those were not “illegal sex acts” because Kate was above the age of consent in Britain.
Maxwell’s defense attorney, Laura Menninger, who said some of the photographs could have been altered, argued that prosecutors should have shown the photograph while Kate was on the stand to give her the opportunity to authenticate it.