Ghislaine Maxill’s trial began Monday. It took place more than two decades after Jeffrey Epstein died. She was charged with conspiring with Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse minors.
This trial will likely be broadcast live on the media. The crimes of Jeffrey Epstein—and his death by suicide in August 2019—have spawned numerous books, documentaries and conspiracy theories. Maxwell’s trial may be the first time since Epstein’s criminal proceedings that the public gets a glimpse of the scope of the government’s evidence against him—and the evidence against her An alleged accomplice.
Maxwell was arrested in July 2020. Federally ChargedPerjury, sex trading and perjury are two of the many. Prices in relation to Epstein’s alleged abuse. The federal indictment against Maxwell alleges that from roughly 1994 to 1997 she “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls” by helping him “recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims” they both knew were underage. The indictment also alleges that Maxwell lied under oath in 2016 “in an effort to conceal her crimes.”
She has pleaded innocent.
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Maxwell’s attorney did not respond to TIME’s request for comment. Responding to TIME’s request for comment, Maxwell’s attorney said that the Southern District of New York does not have any comment regarding pending litigation.
Legal experts say that the trial will be based on many elements. However, one crucial piece of evidence is Government Exhibit 52. This address book, which prosecutors claim belonged to Maxwell, could be one such key piece. The “little black book” hasLong been an object in Epstein’s case. 2015. Gawker PublishedA redacted copy, which includes all contentsThe names of famous actors, business giants and leaders around the world.
If admitted into evidence, the book’s role in the trial could be “significant,” Jessica A. Roth (Cardozo Law Professor) is an ex-federal prosecutor. who has not worked on Maxwell’s trial. “[Much of]This case will hinge on the credibility and testimony of victims who will claim Maxwell’s role in their lives. [alleged] abuse,” she explains. If the government can use the book to prove Maxwell was in communication with those same victims, it could be “powerful corroboration.”
Here’s what to know about the contact book prosecutors allege belonged to Maxwell.
Is there a little black book that explains everything?
According to court filings, the government first obtained the book from Alfredo Rodriguez, an employee of Epstein’s from late 2004 to early 2005 who was attempting to sell the book to Brad Edwards, one of the lawyers suing Epstein in 2009 on behalf of alleged victims. Edwards alerted the FBI. An operation was set up in which the FBI obtained the book from Alfredo Rodriguez. This agent sold the book to Brad Edwards for $50,000. according to the government’s filings in the case.
Many of the contents in Government Exhibit 52 have been deleted from court filings. Federal prosecutors however, filed a Nov. 12, filing. It was claimed that the book contains “compelling evidence” of Maxwell’s guilt. The filing alleges that the book includes “dozens of pages of contacts, including family and friends of the defendant.” Furthermore, the government alleges the book would show Maxwell “kept contact information for relevant individuals at trial, including victims.”
In her filing, Maxwell’s attorneys said that those are “bold, unexplained claims that Ms. Maxwell disputes.” Maxwell’s lawyers contend the contents of the book are “neither authentic nor relevant,” arguing that the fact that the book did not surface until 2009 shows “there is no relevance that can be attached to the information.”
How might the book come up in Maxwell’s case?
“Its significance could be multifold,” says Roth. The government alleges Maxwell was in communication with Epstein’s victims and cultivated relationships with them on his behalf. If the address book belonged to Maxwell and contained victims’ name and contact informations, it would “Help [the government] establish that narrative and corroborate the victims’ anticipated testimony,” she says.
If those victims’ names appear under the heading “massage”—which reportedly appears in the book—it could further help the government establish that she was communicating with the victims to arrange massages for Epstein, They allegedly used one of these tactics To recruit girls for sexual assault. And if the book includes the contact information of any alleged victim’s parents, for example, that might help prosecutorsEstablish that Maxwell knew that the victims were minors.
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However, this all depends on the government being able to prove that Maxwell actually owned the book. It can only then be accepted into evidence. And in the opinion of Mark MacDougall, a former federal prosecutor, the government “will have to overcome some significant obstacles” to do so.
“There are some serious questions about how the book was obtained, who made the entries and whether the writing can be linked directly to the defendant,” MacDougall says.
Maxwell’s lawyers has asked the judge to exclude the book from the trial. In court filings, her legal team has argued that no one “knows where or when the exhibit was acquired by Mr. Rodriguez, what he did with it for as long as he had it, who may have created the exhibit, and where it came from.” Rodriguez has since died, so he can’t testify to it.
The government has said in response that a different individual who worked for Epstein would testify that they were aware of “two sets of contact books maintained in Epstein’s residences, both of which were printed and bound in a Different format.” The first book belonged to Epstein, and the second was commonly referred to as Maxwell’s book, prosecutors Allergy. The government says this witness would testify that there were copies of each book kept in several locations, including Epstein’s Palm Beach house. The prosecution claims that If called on the stand, that witness would testify that they recall seeing a copy of the book in Maxwell’s office in the Palm Beach house, and that Government Exhibit 52 has the same shape, color, binding and formatting.
Learn more She Overcame Sex Trafficking. Now, She wants to help other women.
If the government can establish the book was Maxwell’s And that it was kept in Epstein’s residence, it could also help establish her connection both to Epstein and his properties where much of the abuse allegedly occurred, says Roth.
Are there more people that the book could be referring to?
Maxwell, Epstein and many other influential and famous people were connected to them in the 1990s. But court watchers eager to know if those names will appear in Maxwell’s trial via the alleged address book may be disappointed. It Associated Press Reports This This is the exclusive portion of the book that the judge will consider admitting into evidence is the section under the heading “massage” that prosecutors allege contains the names of victims.
“I think the judge is going to be very [careful about] letting names about celebrities who are not directly tied to the charges in this case be put before the jury,” says Roth. “Because among other things, it would be distracting and could be unfairly prejudicial.”