United Kingdom

Ghislaine Maxwell asks judge to dismiss charges against her

Ghislaine Maxwell has asked a judge to dismiss her case ahead of her trail on charges she recruited teenage girls in the 1990s for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.

Among the arguments filed by lawyers on behalf of Maxwell, 59, was a claim that the indictment should be thrown out because it was obtained from a grand jury seated outside New York City in White Plains, where the lawyers said black and Hispanic grand jurors would have been under-represented.

They said the coronavirus outbreak was used as an excuse to seat the grand jury outside of New York City when the pandemic was killing thousands of city residents.

In a footnote, they wrote: 'The fact that Ms. Maxwell herself is neither Black nor Hispanic does not deprive of her of standing to raise this challenge.'

Lawyers for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, (pictured) have presented a judge with 12 arguments explaining why the impending trial against her should be dropped

The arguments: Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers filed 12 reasons to a federal court judge explaining why the charges against their client should be dropped

Lawyers also said the indictment against their client was obtained unjustly and does not allege crimes specific enough to bring before a jury. 

Among the 12 separate arguments attacking the indictment, one of the first claims is that a non-prosecution deal Epstein reached with the federal government a dozen years ago should shield Maxwell from prosecution too. 

They said the fact that a Manhattan grand jury convened as early as June 25 showed there was no reason for prosecutors not to wait 'other than a publicity-driven desire to arrest Ms. Maxwell on the anniversary of the Epstein indictment'.

Maxwell's lawyers also asked that she be tried separately on charges that she committed perjury when she testified in a civil case brought by one of Epstein's accusers. They said prosecutors were using those charges improperly as a way to introduce evidence from after the 1990s.     

Maxwell is awaiting trial on charges she recruited girls in the 1990s for Jeffrey Epstein (pictured with Maxwell) to sexually abuse. She was arrested last July and has remained jailed on grounds she might flee

The agreement Epstein reached with the federal government that forms one of Maxwell's arguments sought to protect Epstein and those around him, but Maxwell herself was not identified by name in the document.

The document had been signed by Epstein when he agreed to plead guilty to state charges in Florida that forced him to register as a sex offender afterwards. 

Lawyers for Epstein had planned to argue the deal with federal prosecutors in Florida in 2008 protected him against sex trafficking charges lodged against him in July 2019 in New York City.

Manhattan federal prosecutors maintained they could proceed against Epstein or those who worked for him regardless.

She has pleaded not guilty to charges that she recruited three teenage girls, including a 14-year-old, for Epstein to sexually abuse, between 1994 to 1997. Pictured: A courtroom sketch from July 14, 2020, when Maxwell appeared in court via video link during her arraignment hearing

Epstein killed himself at a Manhattan federal prison a month after his arrest.

Maxwell was arrested last July and has remained jailed on grounds she might flee.

She has pleaded not guilty to charges that she recruited three teenage girls, including a 14-year-old, for Epstein to sexually abuse, between 1994 to 1997.

Federal prosecutors declined to comment and will file arguments in response in a few weeks ahead of a scheduled trial in July.

In a recent bail application, Maxwell revealed she had set aside $7.67million to be spent on lawyers out of $22.5million in assets belonging to herself and her husband. 

In the event Maxwell's lawyers cannot force a dismissal of the charges against her, they also made requests that would reduce the number of charges she faces. 

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