Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking trial has given the world a glimpse of her strange, luxe life with Jeffrey Epstein

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I am pretty sure I know what went on here. It was actually a great love affair. Ghislaine is a genuinely attractive woman with a good brain as well. So Epstein fell for her and they formed a very good and lasting relationship. After a while, however she realized that his wandering ways would come between them.

So she did what she needed to do to keep her close relationship with him. She helped to give him what he most wanted: sexual variety. So she remained a huge part of his life emotionally and otherwise, which was what she wanted. She not only held on to her man but strengtheded her relationship with him. They became closer than ever.

She would not be the first woman to tolerate or even facilitate her man having sexual adventures. I know a bit about that myself. I too have known "tolerant" women, rather remarkably so at times.

So did she do wrong? Is it wrong to introduce women to a man who would likely be attracted to them? Hardly. But did she facilitate rape? That would be wrong but it seems more accurate to say that she facilitated prostitution. But prostitution is not illegal in most jurisdictions these days so that is not really an offence either. The "madam" of a brothel is not normally prosecuted

So the dramatic ending of her great love is a real tragedy. She deserves compassion not infamy

Did an Oxford-educated heiress enable a wealthy paedophile to systematically target and sexually abuse vulnerable young girls and women, or is Ghislaine Maxwell being made a scapegoat?

After a three-day adjournment, jurors will return to the courthouse in lower Manhattan tomorrow, as the defence gets its chance to address the question at the heart of the former socialite's sex trafficking trial.

Dozens of witnesses are expected to be called in an attempt to prevent the 59-year-old daughter of publishing magnate Robert Maxwell from spending the rest of her life behind bars.

The defence's job is to counter the narrative presented by the prosecution that, behind closed doors, the high-society heiress was a "dangerous predator" who "served up" young girls to try to satiate the sexual perversions of Jeffrey Epstein.

Ms Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to six counts of enticing minors and sex trafficking over a 10-year period from 1994 to 2004.

In the trial's opening testimony, jurors were given a glimpse into a life of almost unimaginable luxury, in which Ms Maxwell and Epstein jetted between his Palm Beach home, a sprawling ranch in New Mexico, a private Caribbean island and a Manhattan mansion.

Guests on those flights ranged from a series of female passengers, the court heard, to the likes of former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey and Prince Andrew.

None of Epstein's high-profile former associates, whose names have been dropped several times in court, are accused of any wrongdoing in connection with the case.

Larry Visoski — a long-time pilot for the secretive financier — told the court he was never aware of underage girls on board his jet and never saw any sexual activity at all.

The court was told that employees — such as Mr Visoski, whose job it was to facilitate Epstein and Ms Maxwell's lavish lifestyle — were amply rewarded.

Mr Visoski also told the court Epstein had funded his daughters' education and gifted him land to build a home.

While wealthy clients often expect discretion from staff, prosecutors said Ms Maxwell created a "culture of silence" among employees.

A manual for household staff at Epstein's Palm Beach mansion commanded them to "see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing, except to answer a question directed at you".

Staff were also directed to "NEVER disclose Mr Epstein or Ms Maxwell's activities or whereabouts to anyone."

At the time of the alleged crimes, Ms Maxwell was managing Epstein's properties. In Mr Visoski's words she was "Number 2" in the financier's hierarchy.

Four alleged victims have taken the stand to allege Ms Maxwell's duties also saw her recruit and groom young girls and women for sexual abuse.

The locations vary — from New Mexico to New York, Florida and London — but the women's accounts are of a strikingly similar pattern of procurement and abuse.

The alleged modus operandi saw Ms Maxwell befriend women and girls, normalise sexual contact and then encourage them to give Epstein massages which soon turned to abuse.

Ms Maxwell, it's alleged, sometimes participated in the abuse, touching the victims' buttocks and breasts.

The girls, often from troubled backgrounds, would regularly receive hundreds of dollars in cash afterwards.

One alleged victim, known only as Carolyn, told the court she had more than 100 sexual encounters with Epstein at his Florida mansion, beginning when she was aged 14.

But, she told the court, that when she reached the age of 18, she realised she was no longer as attractive to the financier.

"He asked me if I had any younger friends, and I said no," she said. "That's when I realised I was too old."

Some clues have been offered as to the nature of the relationship between Epstein and the defendant. But it, like Ms Maxwell herself, remains largely unknown.

Photographs tendered in evidence suggest that Epstein and Ms Maxwell were in an intimate relationship over a number of years.

They include holiday snaps where they are seen kissing, a never previously published image of a slightly dishevelled Ms Maxwell giving Epstein a foot massage on his private plane, his foot planted firmly in her cleavage.

One photograph of the couple shows them looking relaxed and happy at a cabin on what appears to be the Queen's Balmoral Estate in Scotland.

Then there's the curious document, created in 2002 on the hard drive of a computer registered in Ms Maxwell's name, which states: "Jeffrey and Ghislaine have been together, a couple, for the last 11 years".

"Ghislaine is highly intelligent and great company with a ready smile and an infectious laugh," the document states.

The alleged victims have been pressed about payouts running into the millions of dollars they received from a compensation fund set up with Epstein's estate.

"These are women who were manipulated by their desire for a jackpot of money," defence lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said in opening arguments.

Money has been hinted at as a possible motivating factor for Ms Maxwell, with the court shown bank statements indicating she received upwards of $42 million from Epstein's accounts between 1999 and 2007.

Beyond suggestions of a financial motive, the prosecution has not delved into the psychology of Ms Maxwell's alleged criminality, but argues the socialite was "essential" to Epstein's alleged abuse.

The question of why a woman would allegedly enable and participate in the abuse of other women and girls is ultimately not for the court to decide.

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