by WorldTribune Staff, January 26, 2021
Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell say the charges that she recruited teenage girls in the 1990s for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse should be dropped because a non-prosecution deal that Epstein reached with the federal government in 2008 should shield Maxwell from prosecution, a report said.
As he agreed to plead guilty to state charges in Florida that forced him to register as a sex offender, Epstein reached an agreement with prosecutors which sought to protect him and those around him, the Evening Standard reported on Jan. 26. Maxwell was not identified by name in the agreement.
Lawyers for Epstein had planned to argue that the deal with federal prosecutors protected him against sex trafficking charges lodged against him in July 2019 in New York.
Epstein reportedly killed himself at a Manhattan federal prison a month after his arrest.
Lawyers for Maxwell also argued that the pool of grand jurors who indicted her was not diverse enough, according to new court documents.
“The fact that Ms. Maxwell herself is neither Black nor Hispanic does not deprive of her of standing to raise this challenge,” the attorneys wrote in court papers, arguing that the U.S. Constitution “entitles every defendant to object to a [pool] that is not designed to represent a fair cross section of the community, whether or not the systematically excluded groups are groups to which he himself belongs.”
Maxwell was indicted by a grand jury in the SDNY’s White Plains division before her July 2 arrest, as Covid-19 had limited grand jury proceedings in Manhattan.
White Plains grand jurors hail from counties outside of New York City. Maxwell’s attorneys said they were therefore “drawn from a community in which black and Hispanic residents are significantly underrepresented by comparison. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a criminal defendant a grand jury selected from a fair cross-section of the community. Ms. Maxwell’s right under the Sixth Amendment to a grand jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community applies to the grand jury that indicted her. Here, the use of a White Plains jury resulted in the systematic underrepresentation of black and Hispanic persons from the jury selection process, in violation of Ms. Maxwell’s Sixth Amendment right.”
Maxwell, 59, 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 from 1994 to 1997.
Maxwell, who failed last month in an effort to be released on bail ahead of her trial, is currently being held at a federal prison in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors argued that Maxwell’s dual U.S.-UK citizenship and access to substantial wealth made her a flight risk.
Maxwell has complained about being woken up by prison guards every 15 minutes at night and subjected to unnecessary searches.
The judge’s full reasons for refusing bail again have not yet been published, allowing lawyers time to consider redactions.
Maxwell, who denies all charges, is due to face trial in July.