Jury resumes deliberations at Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial

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In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell, center right, speaks to her attorney Bobbi Sternheim, before being escorted to a jail cell by the U.S. Marshals, during Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

NEW YORK (AP) — A jury resumed deliberations Monday in the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell after a long holiday weekend.

The British socialite is charged with recruiting and grooming teenagers as young as 14 to be sexually assaulted by financier Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell’s lawyers say she was a U.S. government scapegoat after Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan federal jail cell while awaiting a sex trafficking trial.

Maxwell, who was behind bars for her 60th birthday Saturday, was described as a central component to Epstein’s plans by four women who testified they were sexually abused as teenagers by Epstein with help from Maxwell when she was his girlfriend and afterward.

Maxwell’s lawyers said the memories of her accusers were corrupted by the passage of time and the influence of lawyers steering them toward multimillion-dollar payouts from a fund set up to compensate Epstein victims.

The jury, which has been deliberating since last week, already has asked to review the testimony of the four women, along with former Epstein housekeeper Juan Patricio Alessi. They have given little hint of their overall progress on six charges, including a sex trafficking count that carries a potential penalty of up to 40 years in prison.

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