Ghislaine Maxwell is the youngest daughter of deceased British media magnate Robert Maxwell, formerly Hyman Binyamin Hoch. Maxwell was born into a dirt poor Jewish Ukrainian shtetl in 1923, where 300 members of his family were murdered by the Nazis. Maxwell was recruited into the Czechoslovakian army at the outbreak of World War II, and ended up fighting with the Allies. Maxwell stormed a Nazi machine gun nest and was awarded the highest military honors by England. After World War II Maxwell was offered full British citizenship in recognition of his bravery. Maxwell married a French aristocrat named Elisabeth Jenny Meynard and had 9 children. The children were raised in the Anglican tradition and attended the Church of England. Maxwell was a ruthless media magnate who was involved in British politics and espionage, at one point accused of being a spy for the Mossad.
When Ghislaine was 31 years old her father drowned in 1991 after falling off the Lady Ghislaine, a yacht that he named after his daughter. Maxwell was buried in Jerusalem. Ghislaine was very close to her father and was being groomed to take over his media empire. She hobnobbed with the rich and famous. Ghislaine believed that her father was murdered. The Maxwell empire came to a crash after her father’s death. Maxwell had embezzled almost a half a billion dollars from his media company pensions. Two of his sons were charged with fraud. Ghislaine moved to America and ended up taking over the teenage sex trafficking business of Jeffrey Epstein.
Elizabeth Holmes, much like Maxwell, was born into wealth and power in Washington DC. Holmes’ father, Christian Rasmus Holmes IV, was a vice president at Enron and her mother worked for a Congressional committee. Holmes dropped out of Stanford. Elizabeth Holmes idolized Steve Jobs and sported black turtlenecks. Holmes got her start in high tech when she started dating Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, a successful Pakistani-born Silicon Valley high tech millionaire. Holmes was 18 and Sunny was pushing 40. Sunny divorced his wife and secretly lived with Holmes while they ran Theranos. Sunny and Holmes solicited hundreds of millions from investors without mentioning to investors that Holmes was living with Sunny. The Government did not seek to introduce evidence at the Holmes trial that Holmes was sleeping with Sunny back in 2003. The Government charged Holmes with fraud for the period of 2010 through 2016. The Government could not charge Holmes with fraud for acts that occurred more than ten years ago as it would be past the ten year statute of limitations. Holmes and Maxwell both tapped into the wealth and power of their male lovers in order to achieve their own success.
A California jury has been deliberating the fate of Elizabeth Holmes since this past Monday. A New York jury has been deliberating the fate of Ghislaine Maxwell since this past Monday. The jury in California is to reconvene tomorrow while the New York jury got a reprieve for the holidays, and will not reconvene until after New Years. Its not clear whether the criminal defense attorneys in these cases purposefully pushed for trials at the end of December. Criminal defense attorneys would prefer to have the fates of their clients decided during the festive holidays.
The California jury requested that they be given the jury instructions to take home and study before they resume deliberations tomorrow. California Judge Edward J. Davila denied their request, without any objection from the Government or the defense attorneys. In all trials, civil or criminal, juries are not allowed to do independent research or take home court materials. The jury instructions the jury wished to study are posted below:
Holmes raised as a defense that she suffered emotional abuse by her co-conspirator Sunny Balwani, who will be tried separately for his role in Theranos fraud. Sunny did not testify in Holmes’ trial. Even if he was called to the witness stand he would assert the Fifth Amendment and decline to testify on the grounds he could incriminate himself.
Judge Davila instructed the jury the following: “For reasons that do not concern you, the case against Ms. Holmes’ codefendant, Mr. Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, is not before you. Do not speculate why. This fact should not influence your verdict with reference to Ms. Holmes, and you must base your verdict solely on the evidence against Ms. Holmes.” Holmes testified on her own behalf, unlike Maxwell, who didn’t go near the witness stand. Holmes testified that she relied on others in her company, including Sunny, whom she said abused her, when she gave public statements touting her defective blood machine.
Judge Davila instructed the jury that the negligence of Holmes’ investors is not a defense. Holmes raised hundreds of millions of dollars from public figures and sophisticated investors. He company was worth billions of dollars. Bernie Madoff also raised hundreds of millions of dollars from sophisticated investors. He could not claim as a defense that his investors threw money at him without conducting any form of due diligence, or that the investors knew that Madoff could not promise a ten percent return and therefore must have known that they were in on some kind of Madoff scam, although they didn’t know the details, but decided to look the other way. Were they not co-conspirators themselves? Should the gross negligence of the victims of white collar crime mitigate the charges and / or punishment of the person charged with the crime? In civil law the defendant tortfeasor is entitled to offsets for his negligence due to contributory negligence or assumption of risk on the part of the plaintiff.
Judge Davila instructed the Holmes jury that they are not to consider the celebrity status of the witnesses mentioned during the trial. Holmes listed Henry Kissenger and Rupert Murdoch on her witness list, along with a few former US Senators, although they never appeared to testify. Judge Davila told the jury: “You must decide the case solely on the evidence and the law. Do not allow personal likes or dislikes, sympathy, prejudice, fear, or public opinion to influence you. You should also not be influenced by any person’s race, color, religious beliefs, national ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, profession, celebrity, economic circumstances, or position in life or in the community. Also, do not allow yourself to be influenced by personal likes or dislikes, sympathy, prejudice, fear, public opinion, or biases, including unconscious biases.”
The California jury in the Holmes case indicated that they wanted to work through the holidays to reach a verdict. The New York jury in the Maxwell case wanted the holidays off. The evidence introduced in the Maxwell trial is far more disturbing and horrific than the Holmes trial. The New Yorkers needed a break. The jury in the Maxwell case has been asking to see transcripts of the testimonies of four of the witnesses who testified that they were molested by Epstein and Maxwell, as well as the housekeeper at the Epstein residence. When the jury spends days deliberating and hands notes to the Judge its a good sign for the Defendant. It is not a good sign when a jury deliberates for an hour and tells the judge they have reached a verdict.
My prediction for the verdicts:
Maxwell: Guilty on most counts
Holmes: Guilty on most counts
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