Ghislaine Maxwell to lodge appeal against sex trafficking conviction
Disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is set to lodge an appeal against her sex-trafficking conviction – claiming victims had “faded, distorted and motivated memories”.
The 61-year-old was found guilty by a jury of luring young girls to massage rooms for paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein to molest between 1994 and 2004.
She was sentenced to 20 years in prison at the federal court in the Southern District of New York in June last year.
On Tuesday, Maxwell will outline her reasons for lodging her appeal, which her lawyers have said are based on “errors” by the trial court and the US government, who brought the charges against her.
Maxwell’s attorneys are set to say: “The government prosecuted Ms Maxwell as a proxy for Jeffrey Epstein.
“It did so to satisfy public outrage over an unpopular non-prosecution agreement and the death of the person responsible for the crimes.
“In its zeal to pin the blame for its own incompetence and for Epstein’s crimes on Ms Maxwell, the government breached its promise not to prosecute Ms Maxwell, charged her with time-barred offenses, resurrected and recast decades-old allegations for conduct previously ascribed to Epstein and other named assistants, and joined forces with plaintiffs’ attorneys, whose interests were financial, to develop new allegations out of faded, distorted, and motivated memories.”
Maxwell’s attorneys will outline a number of issues she will be using as grounds for appeal – including her prison conditions leaving her “unable to meaningfully assist” in her own defence case during the trial.
The former socialite is also set to argue the US government breached a “non-prosecution agreement” by bringing the charges against her – claiming the agreement “immunised Maxwell for these offences”.
Jurors heard prosecutors describe Maxwell as “dangerous” during her three-week trial in December 2021, and were told details of how she helped entice vulnerable teenagers to Epstein’s various properties for him to sexually abuse.
But her attorneys will argue she did not have a fair trial after it emerged one of the jurors, Scotty David, had failed to disclose he had been sexually abused.
Her lawyers will also argue the court had refused to correct the jury’s “misunderstanding” of elements of the charges – meaning Maxwell was “convicted of crimes with which she was not charged”.
Maxwell has been incarcerated since July 2020, despite numerous attempts from her defence counsel to have her released on bail.
Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.
The death was ruled a suicide.