The defence lawyer for Ghislaine Maxwell has said the socialite is being blamed for a man’s bad behaviour just like Eve was in the Garden of Eden.
Socialite, Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial got underway on Monday, November 29, at the Federal Court House in Manhattan, New York, where the 59-year-old faces 80 years in prison if convicted.
She is accused of grooming underage girls to perform sexual acts with late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
On Monday the socialite’s ‘superstar’ lawyer Bobbi Sternheim branded Maxwell’s accusers as money-grabbers looking for a ‘jackpot of money’.
Miss Sternheim (pictured below) told the court: ‘Ever since Eve was accused of tempting Adam with the apple, women have been blamed for the bad behaviour of men, and women are often vilified and punished more than men are.
‘The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are for things Jeffrey Epstein did. But she is not Jeffrey Epstein.
‘She is not like Jeffrey Epstein and she is not like any of the other men, powerful men, moguls, who abused women.’
She described Maxwell as a ‘scapegoat’ for Epstein, whose death had ‘left a gaping hole in the pursuit for justice’.
‘He’s the proverbial elephant in the room. He is not visible, but he is consuming this entire courtroom and overflow courtrooms where other members of the public are viewing,’ she added.
Miss Sternheim, a lawyer who has in the past represented the likes of Adel Abdel-Bary, Osama Bin Laden’s London spokesman, when he admitted planning bombings for Al Qaeda, said the only common denominator between the four witnesses in the case is that they each got ‘big bucks’ in compensation from the estate of Epstein.
The defence attorney told the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, in Manhattan, New York that she was ‘proud’ to represent her client.
Epstein killed himself in a New York jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking minors. Miss Sternheim claimed that his accusers were motivated by a compensation fund set up following his demise.
The lawyer said: ‘His accusers have shaken the money tree, and millions of dollars have fallen their way.’
Miss Sternheim said that the case was about ‘memory, manipulation and money’, claiming that the accusers’ recollections had been ‘corrupted’ by lawyers in search of payouts and ‘contaminated’ by the passage of time.
Miss Sternheim said: ‘As we all know, memories fade over time, and in this case we will learn not only have memories faded, but they have been contaminated by outside information, media reports.’
She also took aim at each of the four witnesses in the case, branding one ‘a consummate actress’ before undermining the others.
Miss Sternheim said Epstein’s wealth and mystique of Einstein stirred the public’s interest. She described him as a ‘patron of the arts’ and a man who had ‘many desirable traits, attractiveness, charisma, intelligence, status, charm’.
She then referred to Maxwell as an Oxford graduate and a helicopter pilot, saying that she ‘socialised with extraordinary people’.
But she asked the jurors to not let Maxwell’s wealth cloud their judgment.
‘Privileged background, comfortable lifestyle, status – they may be things that easily check the wrong box, but they are not crimes,’ she said.
Miss Sternheim then claimed that Maxwell is being prosecuted only because US authorities were unable to bring Epstein himself to justice, as he committed suicide in his jail cell in 2019, just before his sentencing for child prostitution and grooming.
Sternheim said the prosecution could not prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt, before adding: ‘When all is said and done the evidence will show that the government cannot because Ghislaine did not.