Maxwell Claims U.S. Reneging on Promise to Turn Over Evidence
(Bloomberg) -- Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers say U.S. prosecutors are reneging on a promise to provide her with the evidence they’ve collected in her sex-trafficking case.
The government’s failure to provide the evidence makes it impossible for Maxwell to prepare her defense, the British socialite’s lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuca said Friday in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. For instance, the indictment doesn’t give specific dates for when Maxwell committed the alleged crimes, only saying they occurred between 1994 and 1997, Pagliuca said.
“Neither the indictment nor the discovery inform Ms. Maxwell about critical information necessary to prepare her defense,” the lawyer wrote. “Because there are no dates provided, other than a three-year period beginning 26 years in the past, Ms. Maxwell cannot properly investigate where she and other witnesses were when the alleged crime supposedly occurred.”
Maxwell has been held in a federal lockup in Brooklyn since her arrest in July. She also claims federal prison officials have “exacerbated” her lack of access to evidence by requiring her to sit across the table from her lawyers. That has prevented her from reviewing evidence on a laptop with her attorneys, Pagliuca said.
At recent hearings about conditions at New York’s federal jails during the Covid-19 pandemic, lawyers for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said they have had to limit inmate access to their counsel as well as impose social-distancing restrictions upon inmates to ensure the health and safety of the detainees, lawyers and staff.
Maxwell says prosecutors have given her some evidence in the case, but she claims the majority pertains to her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell is accused of recruiting girls as young as 14 to be sexually abused by Epstein. He was charged separately last year with sex-trafficking of underage girls but was found dead in his jail cell last August of what authorities later ruled a suicide.
While prosecutors told Nathan at a hearing in July that the strength of their case posed a “a strong incentive” for Maxwell to flee, the government “has failed to produce any of the corroborating documentation that they claimed to have at the initial hearing in this case,” Pagliuca wrote.
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