Ghislaine Maxwell Says Cosby Ruling Should End Her Case Too

Ghislaine Maxwell told a federal judge in New York that sex-trafficking charges against her should be dropped because of the Wednesday ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturning Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction.

The Pennsylvania high court said Cosby’s case was barred because of a previous deal with the prosecutor. In a Friday letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, lawyers for Maxwell said the same principle applied to her case because she should be included in a 2007 non-prosecution agreement federal prosecutors in Florida reached with her onetime companion Jeffrey Epstein.

“As in Cosby, the government is trying to renege on its agreement and prosecute Ms. Maxwell over 25 years later for the exact same offenses for which she was granted immunity in the NPA,” Maxwell’s lawyer Christian Everdell wrote. “Indeed, the principle applies even more strongly in Ms. Maxwell’s case because the NPA was a formal written agreement, as opposed to an informal promise like the one in Cosby. This is not consistent with principles of fundamental fairness.”

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to more than half-a-dozen counts, including sex trafficking of a minor, related to four victims. She is being held in federal confinement in Brooklyn, with her trial is set to begin in late November.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan federal prosecutors’ office declined to comment on Friday’s letter.

No Controlling Effect

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling has no controlling effect on a federal court case in Manhattan, but Maxwell is hoping the decision could be persuasive to Nathan.

That seems unlikely, as Nathan already ruled that Epstein’s non-prosecution doesn’t apply to Maxwell. The deal also didn’t prevent Manhattan federal prosecutors from bringing charges against Epstein himself, though he died by apparent suicide in his jail cell while awaiting trial.

Cosby was released from a prison outside Philadelphia after serving more than two years of his sentence. The state supreme court said it was overturning his 2018 conviction because the district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, had agreed in 2005 not to prosecute Cosby for allegedly assaulting Andrea Constand.

A different district attorney decided to pursue charges, using at trial testimony Cosby gave in a civil suit brought by Constand. The supreme court said Cosby relied on the earlier promise when he gave the testimony.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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