19 Jan 2022

Maxwell lawyers seek a new trial in letter to judge

Maxwell lawyers seek a new trial in letter to judge

Lawyers representing predatory British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell have asked for no sentencing date to be set as the US court should “grant her a new trial”.

Setting out their arguments in a letter to Judge Alison Nathan, the 60-year-old’s defence counsel said there was a “compelling basis” to overturn Maxwell’s conviction for sex trafficking after a juror revealed they had been a victim of sexual abuse.

Maxwell, who was labelled “dangerous” by the prosecution during her three-week trial in New York, was found guilty of enticing vulnerable teenagers to Jeffrey Epstein’s various properties for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.

The US government, who prosecuted the case, said in the same letter that a sentence date should be set for three to four months’ time.

The prosecution also said if all defence motions were denied, and a sentencing date could be set, they would dismiss the outstanding perjury counts against Maxwell.

The severed charges allege the convicted sex trafficker lied under oath by hiding her participation in Jeffrey Epstein’s offences during a separate civil case brought against her by the Duke of York’s accuser, Virginia Giuffre.

Confirming their position in the letter, the US government said: “In the event the defendant’s post-trial motions are denied, the Government is prepared to dismiss the severed perjury counts at the time of sentencing, in light of the victims’ significant interests in bringing closure to this matter and avoiding the trauma of testifying again.

“If any of the defendant’s post-trial motions are granted, the government proposes that the parties be directed to promptly confer and propose a schedule for further proceedings.

“That schedule may depend on the manner in which the court resolves such motions.”

The prosecution also requested the preparation of a pre-sentence investigation report, but the defence argued anything Maxwell said in the report “could be used against her at her retrial”.

Setting out their position in the letter, Maxwell’s lawyers said: “The defence requests that the court delay setting a schedule for sentencing because there is a compelling basis for the court to overturn Ms Maxwell’s conviction and grant her a new trial based on the disclosures of Juror 50 during deliberations.

“The defence therefore objects to setting a schedule for sentencing until this motion is resolved.

“Furthermore, requiring Ms Maxwell to participate in the preparation of the pre-sentence investigation report, while she is awaiting a decision on her motion for a new trial, will adversely impact her Fifth Amendment rights (the right to silence so as not to incriminate oneself).

“Ms Maxwell will be forced into the position of not cooperating with the probation department’s investigation because any statement she makes to Probation, and any documents she provides, may be used against her at her retrial.”

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