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Jury deliberations begin in Ghislaine Maxwell's trial

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Jurors in the sex abuse trial of Ghislaine Maxwell will continue deliberations today after getting the case late yesterday. And we want to note here that we're about to discuss details that will be disturbing to some listeners. Prosecutors called the British socialite a predator. They told the jury that Maxwell recruited teenaged girls to be sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty. Joining us now is Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown. Her book, "Perversion Of Justice," details her investigations and coverage of Epstein's offenses going back to 2007. She's now in New York covering Maxwell's trial. Julie, what has stood out to you the most in the closing arguments yesterday?

JULIE K BROWN: Well, you know, the prosecution I think everybody thought started out a little bit slow. A couple of the witnesses they put on were people that basically said they didn't know nothing. They didn't see anything. And now what's happened is they - the victims have testified. They were very, very powerful. And in their closing yesterday, the prosecutors, I think, pretty effectively stitched this whole case together in a way that the jury could understand Ghislaine's pivotal role in arranging this sex pyramid scheme for Epstein.

MARTINEZ: Julie, you've been covering this story extensively for well over a decade. I mean, what's it been like for you to watch Maxwell's case unfold and maybe get to some kind of end?

BROWN: Well, you know, I just keep thinking about the victims, really. It's been a longer haul, as you can imagine, for them and everything they've been through. And for these four women to testify in this way is very courageous.

MARTINEZ: Whose testimony or what testimony would you say has been the most impactful, at least for you or maybe for the jury?

BROWN: There was one victim named - she used the pseudonym Carolyn. She was from Palm Beach. She was one of the what we call the Palm Beach victims because she was recruited, you know, in that circle that they had set up of girls recruiting other girls. And she was very young. She was 14 when she was first abused and assaulted by Epstein. And she vividly, I think, captured in her testimony how much Maxwell was a person that was involved in this crime.

MARTINEZ: Has Maxwell - her in the courtroom, does she show any emotion? Is there any kind of anything that we see in her face at all?

BROWN: You know, she's been pretty animated during the testimony, you know, talking with her lawyers, taking notes, that kind of thing. But yesterday, during the closing, she was noticeably stoic. You know, we all have to wear masks in the courtroom, including her. And so all you see, really, are her eyes poking out from her mask. And she seemed quite reserved yesterday, more so than she had been in previous days. I think that the gravity of what she's facing appeared to just show in her body language.

MARTINEZ: If she's found guilty, what could Maxwell's punishment be? What could she be facing?

BROWN: Well, she's guilty on all charges, she could be facing 80 years in prison. But even if they find her guilty on some of the more serious charges - sex trafficking, for example - it'll be at least 40 years in prison.

MARTINEZ: All right. That's Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald. Julie, thank you very much.

BROWN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.