Defense Rests in Ghislaine Maxwell Trial After Just 2 Days of Witness Testimony

By Dave Paone
Dave Paone
Dave Paone
Dave Paone covers New York City.
December 17, 2021 Updated: December 17, 2021

NEW YORK—After only two days of witness testimony—and two short days at that—Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense team rested its case in her sex-trafficking trial in federal court on Dec. 17.

Just prior to the announcement, Judge Alison Nathan instructed Maxwell regarding her right to testify in her own defense—or not testify—and how the jury cannot use her decision not to against her.

Maxwell spoke in court for the first time during the trial, saying, “The government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and so there’s no need for me to testify.”

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Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell sits during jury selection in her trial in a courtroom sketch in New York City on Nov. 17, 2021. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

Previously, the defense called the last of its witnesses, many of whom faced a savage cross-examination from the prosecution.

The defense called two FBI agents who reviewed FD-302s, which are summaries of interviews conducted by agents. Agents Jason Richards and Amanda Young had signed off on the ones they wrote and both testified they made them as accurate as possible.

They had interviewed alleged victims of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a close associate of Maxwell who died in a New York prison cell in 2019 while awaiting sex trafficking charges.

Under cross-examination by prosecuting attorney Maurene Comey, both witnesses testified that recording devices were not used in any of the interviews, the alleged victims never attested to the accuracy of the summaries before they testified, and that specifically, “Jane” was not given hers to review before she appeared as a witness for the prosecution.

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Kevin Maxwell the brother of Ghislaine Maxwell arrives at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on Dec. 16, 2021 in New York City. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Another witness for the defense was Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin, a former girlfriend of Epstein. They dated from 1983 to around 1991. She and Epstein remained friends, even after she started a family with her husband, Glenn Dubin.

Andersson-Dubin testified she never saw any inappropriate behavior by Epstein with teenage girls.

Under direct examination, defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca asked her if she ever participated in group, sexual acts with Epstein, to which she replied, “Absolutely not.”

He then asked the same thing, but with Jane involved, to which she replied, “I have not.”

Then came the cross examination.

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Juan Alessi, the former house manager of Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach estate, is led quickly to a car after testifying in court at the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell for child sex trafficking on Dec. 03, 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

After a few questions from prosecuting attorney Alison Moe, she ended with, “Are you having issues with your memory?”

She replied, “It’s very hard to remember anything far back and sometimes I can’t even remember days from last month. My family notices it, I notice it, and it’s an issue.”

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Isabel Maxwell the sister of Ghislaine Maxwell departs the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on Nov. 29, 2021 in New York City. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Michelle Healy is another former employee of J. Epstein & Company. She started at the Madison Avenue office in 1996, as a 22-year-old.

Healy testified that when she met Jane for the first time, “She looked like a grownup to me” with “a lot of makeup on.”

At the end of direct examination, defense attorney Laura Menninger posed to Healy the same two questions regarding group sex. She replied, “Absolutely not” to both.

The prosecution and the defense will meet at 9:00 am (EST) on Saturday, Dec. 18, for a charging conference and closing arguments will be heard on Monday, Dec. 20.

Dave Paone
Dave Paone covers New York City.