Former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, on trial in New York for sex trafficking, spoke out for the first time Friday at her trial, saying the prosecution had failed to prove her guilt.
Your honor, the government has not provided evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, so I don't need to testify, said simply Ms. Maxwell, who is accused of providing underage girls to her former partner and collaborator Jeffrey Epstein - a U.S. financier who died in prison in 2019 - from 1994 to 2004 so that he could sexually exploit them.
The federal court in Manhattan has been listening to witnesses called by Ms. Maxwell's defense since Thursday, and the proceedings are expected to conclude Friday night, said U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey.
For the past two days, the defendant's lawyers have dragged out the hearings in an attempt to convince the jury of the innocence of their client, a very close friend of Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in his cell in New York in the summer of 2019 before he was even tried for sex crimes.
The defense wanted to call 35 witnesses, but ended up calling only nine.
Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, -- British, American and French and daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell -- is accused of being a fixer for Epstein and has been held in New York since the summer of 2020.
She pleads not guilty to all charges for which she faces life in prison.