On the fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving marks America’s beginning of holiday season. This is an opportunity to thank God for all the blessings in our lives and celebrate the harvest.

This week in Manhattan, it was sunny and the streets buzzed. The shops were decorated with Christmas lights and the restaurants and bars did a good trade after New York lifted its lockdown restrictions.

But a few miles away at Brooklyn’s grim Metropolitan Detention Centre, there were no lavish turkey dinners — and little to feel grateful about — for the fallen British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, as she waited for her ‘Trial of the Decade’ to start on Monday.

Following her arrest in July 2020 for sexual-trafficking accusations, she has been held in deplorable conditions in prison there for the last 17 months. 

Soon she could be spending the rest of her life behind bars — unless she convinces a jury of her proclaimed innocence.

At Brooklyn's grim Metropolitan Detention Centre, the fallen British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell (pictured), 59, waits for her 'Trial of the Decade' to start on Monday

Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Centre is where Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite, is waiting for the ‘Trial of the Decade to begin on Monday.

She sees the six weeks ahead as terrifying uncertainty. This is her fight for her life.

Maxwell sits in the 6-foot-x-9-foot cell where she has lived for over 500 days. Media organisations are releasing special reports that coincide with Maxwell’s fate.

The New York Times ran a massive investigation into Maxwell’s last days with Jeffrey Epstein, Maxwell’s former paedophile boyfriend. The billionaire apparently committed suicide in 2019, while waiting for prosecution.

Maxwell’s trial is set to begin at 318 in Thurgood Marshall United US Courthouse on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Since there are very few seats in court for journalists, writers, documentary, film and other makers, it is a good idea to start queuing before 6am so they can get to the overflow courts with a live stream of proceedings.

Maxwell will be tried on six counts, which include the enticement to minors and child sex. The charges are dated between 1994-2004 and can result in prison terms of as high as 80 years.

In court papers, she revealed she has set aside an astonishing £5.2 million to pay her legal bills. 

The star-studded defense squad includes an ex-federal procuror who assisted in the downfall of Sinaloa Cartel drug cartel kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman. This feat earned him a True American Hero Award. A second ex-federal prosecutor is Thomas ’Tommy Karate’ Pitera.

In the trial, prosecutors will focus on four women who say they were recruited by Maxwell as teenagers to be abused by Jeffrey Epstein (pictured in 2004)

The trial will be focused on the four female victims of Maxwell’s recruitment as teens to abuse Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo: 2004).

They’ll be facing the powerful U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York. The team of prosecutors has an impressive record of handling high-profile cases.

This trial promises to be bitterly fought.

The prosecution will concentrate on the four females who claim that Maxwell recruited them as teenage girls to abuse Epstein. Maxwell will also be present in court.

Unpublished court documents reveal that Epstein’s accuser will describe a sexual act she did to Epstein.

Minor Victim 3 in Britain describes the incident as “morally reprobable”. Maxwell’s attorneys claim that there’s a risk the jury could convict Maxwell based upon a moral judgment of sexual activity that was completely legal.

Minor Victim #3 met Maxwell and Epstein in 1994, when she was 17 years old. According to indictment Maxwell was alleged to have ‘groomed’ and befriended the girl in London, and then arranged for Epstein’s’multiple’ sexualized massages.

Maxwell’s lawyers, in their filing, argue that the woman’s evidence should be excluded because it could unfairly sway the jury, given she was over 16 — the age of consent in the UK, where the act is said to have taken place.

A court document recently released by Maxwell states that Maxwell’s legal team objected to the use of a sextoy known as the “Twin Torpedo” against her. The sex toy was taken during an Epstein raid in 2005. 

Prosecutors plan also to provide emails that Maxwell allegedly sent to at least two “influential men”, so they can arrange for dates with women.

The court documents claim that Maxwell used her ability “to provide access to women” as a way to exchange social currency. She claimed she wanted to impress men by connecting with women and was eager to please them.

Maxwell’s lawyers replied by saying that Maxwell was trying to “intimidate herself with a good friend”, but they didn’t know what she meant. Maxwell’s lawyers replied that there was no evidence she wasn’t already well-established friendships with each of them over many years.

Prosecutors also indicated that they will introduce six pages of Epstein’s famous ‘Black Book’ collection of contacts to provide ‘compelling evidence’ for Maxwell’s guilty. Prosecutors will argue that the book belonged to Maxwell and they will present a witness to prove it.

One of the most important parts of the book is titled’massage.’ It features names of parents for some of the girls. This indicates their age.

Prosecutors said they intend to introduce up to six pages of Epstein's 'Black Book' of contacts as 'compelling' evidence of Maxwell's guilt. They will claim the book was actually Maxwell's

Prosecutors stated they plan to present six pages of Epstein’s ‘Black Book’ of contacts in court as “compelling” evidence for Maxwell’s guilt. They claim that the book is Maxwell’s.

One victim in the case against Maxwell and Epstein has not given up her right of anonymity. Annie Farmer is an American psychologist who claims Maxwell, Epstein, and her 16-year-old self sex abused her at Epstein’s New Mexico residence in 1996.

Maxwell was described as a “sexual predator” by Ms Farmer who has shown no remorse and has said that Maxwell is a’sexual predator”.

In Maxwell’s defence, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus will testify about ‘false memories’ of sexual abuse that people can describe with ‘confidence, detail and emotion’ — without deliberately lying.

Maxwell might not be completely confident that Loftus, a disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s defense lawyer during the last year of his rape case, gave evidence. He was sentenced and served 23 years imprisonment.

Judge Alison Nathan will decide which contentious pieces of evidence the jury will hear. She was previously a Special Assistant to President Obama. 

It could impact the verdict of the case in a big way on what she believes to be admissible.

For the Epstein story, this is my fourth visit to America.

The first time, in 2011, I secured an exclusive first interview with Epstein’s former long-serving butler and handyman, Juan Alessi, who told me about the sordid goings on at the disgraced tycoon’s Palm Beach mansion in Florida — and of the paedophile’s friendship with Prince Andrew and the then relatively unknown Ghislaine Maxwell.

Alessi shared with me the story of the Duke of York who attended parties at pool where nude women played (the ex-butler explained that the royal kept his trunks on), and received daily massages from young, but not juvenile, females. The walls were decorated with pictures of nude girls, again not juveniles. The Queen’s second son was probably not at home in this place, my memory recalls.

Alessi further revealed Maxwell’s stash of sex toy at her property that he was cleaning for her. Also, he quit his job as a butler due to an undisclosed conflict with her.

A legal binding confidentiality agreement between Epstein and Alessi meant that Alessi could only speak in general terms in answer to certain of my questions. 

A few of these issues were about Maxwell who, according to Alessi, recruited young “massage therapists” for Epstein’s service.

At one deposition hearing, he claimed that she was seeking the most qualified. I went with her one or two times to several spas, clubs, and massage therapists… She wanted the best.

Virginia Roberts was a young female Maxwell ‘found’ to be a Epstein massage therapist. Roberts, now married, and living in Australia under the name Virginia Giuffre, sensationally claimed in The Mail On Sunday in 2011 that she met Andrew three times in just weeks, both in New York and London, 2001.

The famous photograph of Ghislaine, now 17 years old, was taken at Maxwell’s London mews house. It shows Andrew beaming and holding her waist. Epstein is thought to have taken the picture.

One alleged victim in the prosecution case has given up her right to anonymity. She is Annie Farmer, who alleged Maxwell and Epstein sexually abused her when she was 16 in 1996

An alleged victim has given up anonymity in connection with the prosecution case. Annie Farmer was the one who claimed Maxwell and Epstein abused her sexually when she was 16.

Andrew is sure to be a nervous spectator during Maxwell’s trial. And he is far from the only VIP who once enjoyed Epstein’s largesse — the Duke stayed at the paedophile’s home on a number of occasions.

Andrew received some good news earlier this week. It was revealed that Ms Giuffre (38), will not be taking the witness stand at the Maxwell trial. Official reasons were not given. 

“Team Andrew” welcomed the news. A source close to the Duke’s legal team told the Mail that the Mail was pleased to hear the following: “As the most vocal and high-profile accuser, one might have expected Ms Giuffre would be the star witness.” 

“However, one cannot help but conclude that she has become increasingly inconsistent in her accounts and is not credible as a witness.”

It is not clear if Maxwell will be present to testify. Ian Maxwell, Maxwell’s brother said earlier in the week that he is not certain.

Her brother raised concerns that she might not get a fair trial. He cited the ’embarrassing amount of negative media coverage Ghislaine has received for at least 18 months.

He seems to have made a contradiction between what occurred during jury selection on Tuesday and the fact that very few of the possible jurors were familiar with Maxwell or Epstein.

Most people who knew Epstein believed he committed suicide and not been involved in any sex-trafficking operations.

While Ian Maxwell and his siblings have been publicly supportive of Ghislaine — her U.S.-based sister Isabel has regularly attended pre-trial court hearings — Maxwell’s husband of five years, millionaire technology entrepreneur Scott Borgerson, has been keeping a very low profile.

Earlier this week he surfaced hundreds of miles away from New York in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, but declined to comment.

Borgerson is not expected to attend the trial of his wife, but it remains unclear if he will. There are also questions about their relationship. 

Maxwell says she feels like a victim by the prosecutors following Epstein’s death in prison.

She is right to be presumed innocent by her family. Her case is not for her questionable moral guidance, but rather for the alleged commission of very serious criminal offenses.

However, as she is about to appear in court on Monday, there’s a strong feeling that the U.S. justice is on trial too.