New Maxwell Charges Show U.S. Out to Get Her, Socialite Says
(Bloomberg) -- The latest sex trafficking allegations against Ghislaine Maxwell are based on the testimony of a witness who was interviewed more than a decade ago and never implicated her before, the British socialite told a federal judge in asking that the new charges be dismissed.
Maxwell, 59, has been held in a Brooklyn, New York, jail since she was arrested last year in rural New Hampshire, accused of helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein procure girls. Prosecutors in March filed a revised indictment adding charges of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor to six earlier counts, as well as a fourth accuser. The latter charge alone carries a prison term as long as 40 years. Maxwell is scheduled to go on trial in November.
On Tuesday, Maxwell’s lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan to throw out the indictment, saying it “demonstrates just how far the government is willing to go to ‘get’ Ms. Maxwell and disingenuously blame her” for Epstein’s acts. Epstein was facing sex crimes charges when he died in a federal lockup in 2019, his death later ruled a suicide. The U.S. alleges that Maxwell played a central role in “grooming” the girls for Epstein.
Minor Victim-4, as she is called in the indictment, came out with her account of Maxwell’s complicity more than a decade after she told a very different story, the defense told Nathan in Tuesday’s filing.
“Only now, 13 years after she first reported these events to the Palm Beach FBI and several months after Ms. Maxwell had been indicted and publicly vilified in the press as Epstein’s primary accomplice, did Accuser-4 suddenly allege for the very first time that Ms. Maxwell was involved in Epstein’s sexual abuse,” her lawyers said.
But the accuser wasn’t asked about Maxwell in the initial investigation in Florida, prosecutors said in a rebuttal to her claims, urging the judge to reject her arguments. That investigation focused on Epstein and another employee, the prosecutors said.
The victim “affirmatively stated that the defendant was one of the individuals who scheduled her massage appointments with Epstein” when she was questioned for a civil lawsuit, more than a decade before Maxwell’s indictment in New York, the government said.
“Her prior consistent statement regarding the defendant’s involvement in scheduling her massages severely undercuts the defense’s suggestion that Minor Victim-4 entirely fabricated the defendant’s role in Epstein’s scheme after the defendant was indicted in 2020,” prosecutors said.
Maxwell also claims she was “immunized” from prosecution on the new charges based on a nonprosecution agreement Epstein got from federal authorities in Florida and that the charges are based on “the exact same evidence.” Prosecutors noted that Nathan rejected a similar argument last month.
The case is U.S. v. Maxwell, 20-cr-00330, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.