Legal team of Ghislaine Maxwell called 'false memories' expert in effort to undermine accusers

A prominent expert witness was called in to undermine the factual nature of Maxwell's accusers' first hand accounts
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Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
(Patrick McMullan / Getty Images)

The trial lawyers of consort to the late Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, called to the stand this week a psychologist and expert on "false memories," in an attempt to undermine the testimony of Maxwell's accusers.

Elizabeth Loftus is a professor at the University of California, Irvine who has also testified or consulted on high-profile criminal trials including those of Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, O.J. Simpson, Robert Durst, Ted Bundy and Michael Jackson.

"Emotion is no guarantee that you're dealing with an authentic memory," she told the jury.

The crux of her life's research is that personal biases can influence memories, and individuals are, generally, more likely to accept suggestions about those memories that comport with their beliefs and motives. 

"People do seem to be more willing to accept suggestions when it’s going to fit with their prior beliefs or fit with their motives," she told the jury. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz questioned Loftus, during the cross-examination, on the psychologist's record of testifying for the prosecution just one single time, out of the 150 times she's been called as a witness.