By Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense rested its case in the British socialite’s sex abuse trial on Friday, after Maxwell declined to testify, arguing prosecutors had not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
In two days of testimony from former employees of Jeffrey Epstein, a psychologist specializing in memory, and an ex-girlfriend of the late financier, the defense sought to undercut the testimony of four women who said Maxwell set them up for sexual abuse by Epstein when they were teenagers.
Maxwell, 59, pleaded not guilty to eight counts of sex trafficking and other crimes. Her attorneys argued she is being scapegoated for Epstein’s conduct. Epstein killed himself in 2019 at the age of 66 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex crimes charges.
Closing arguments in the trial are expected on Monday in federal court in Manhattan. The jury would then begin deliberations.
“Your honor, the government has not proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt and so there is no need for me to testify,” Maxwell, standing up in the courtroom, told U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan.
Defendants in U.S. criminal trials are not required to testify, and often do not, since the burden of proof is on prosecutors.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Mark Porter and Grant McCool)