Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Giuffre not expected at Ghislaine Maxwell trial

Ghislaine Maxwell attending a pre-trial hearing ahead of jury selection in New York
Ghislaine Maxwell attending a pre-trial hearing ahead of jury selection in New York

She was one of the first people to publicly accuse Ghislaine Maxwell of involvement of Mr Epstein's reported sex-trafficking ring

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Virginia Giuffre says she was sexually abused and groomed by Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, but does not appear to be testifying on behalf of the prosecution, GB News understands, sparing potential blushes for Prince Andrew.

Ms Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex aged 17 with Prince Andrew, who strenuously denies the allegations.

She was one of the first people to publicly accuse Ghislaine Maxwell of involvement of Mr Epstein's reported sex-trafficking ring, the she does not appear in the criminal indictment has raised eyebrows.

Ghislaine Maxwell's defence in her sex abuse trial will focus on undermining her accusers and distancing her from Jeffrey Epstein, the financier for whom she is charged with recruiting underage girls, according to legal experts and court filings.

In what is viewed by some legal experts as a risky strategy in the post-#MeToo era, Maxwell's lawyers will question the credibility of four women who say she groomed them as teenagers for Epstein to abuse from the 1990s to the early 2000s, arguing that their memories are faulty or that they are lying because of financial incentives. They have said in a court filing that one woman was motivated by a "desire for cash."

Epstein died by suicide at 66 in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

"[Maxwell's lawyers] want to say the real villain is no longer around to be prosecuted, so they're using her as a scapegoat," said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Jury selection is underway in Manhattan federal court for Maxwell's trial, with opening statements scheduled for Nov. 29.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to eight charges including sex trafficking.

Her lawyers have argued that prosecutors, unable to convict Epstein because of his death, are seeking to "substitute" Maxwell in order to hold someone responsible.

"Left with no fish to attempt to fry, the government belatedly turned to Ms. Maxwell," her lawyers wrote in a Feb. 4 filing.

The office of U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan, which is prosecuting the case against Maxwell, declined to comment. Maxwell's lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

Jeffrey Pagliuca, a lawyer for Maxwell, said at a Nov. 10 hearing that the defence would question the women who say they were abused about why they waited so many years to come forward.

Two of the women - Annie Farmer and another who will testify under a pseudonym - did not accuse Maxwell of wrongdoing until long after Epstein's alleged abuses, according to Maxwell's defence.

A diary Farmer kept in the 1990s describing interactions with Epstein did not mention Maxwell, and the unidentified witness said nothing about Maxwell until June when prosecutors showed her a photograph, the lawyers said.