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A cocktail party from hell: in court with Ghislaine Maxwell, the society princess

By John Sweeney

04 Dec 2021 · 8 min read

The lady in the white mask is quite the gracious host, mwah-mwahing her pals, hugs-a-go-go, writing thoughtful little Post-it notes, blessing her set with her exclusive attention. Only this is not a gathering of socialites over canapés, but a child sexual abuse trial, and her friends are fancy lawyers, and the people who once served and allegedly serviced her and her ex-lover Jeffrey Epstein, body and soul, seem to be in no mood for mwah-mwah.

Welcome to the cocktail party from hell, or to give the proceedings their proper name, the trial of the United States of America v Ghislaine Maxwell. Staged in the grand US federal court building in a half-empty Manhattan, it is a grimly fascinating study, if you side with the defence, in false memory syndrome and gold-digging.

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