Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers ask for a new trial

·3 min read

Lawyers for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell have asked for a retrial after her conviction for sex trafficking.

Maxwell, 60, who was labelled “dangerous” by the prosecution during her three-week trial in New York, was found guilty of enticing vulnerable teenagers to financier Jeffrey Epstein’s various properties for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.

Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi C Sternheim, made the official request in a letter to Judge Alison Nathan which states: “Today, counsel for Ghislaine Maxwell filed her motion for a new trial.”

The retrial request comes after a juror in the case told media that he spoke to the other jurors of his experience of being sexually abused.

In the letter, the lawyer adds: “We request that all submissions pertaining to juror no 50 remain under seal until the court rules on the motion.”

Earlier this month Maxwell’s lawyers had argued “there is a compelling basis for the court to overturn Ms Maxwell’s conviction and grant her a new trial based on the disclosures of Juror 50 during deliberations.”

Potential jurors had to fill out questionnaires as part of the selection process which asked if they, a friend or family member had ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault.

The questionnaire also stated that witnesses in the case may testify claiming sexual abuse or sexual assault, and asked whether the potential juror would have any difficulty in assessing the credibility of these people.

Ghislaine Maxwell court case
Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein (US Department of Justice/PA)

The full indictment against Maxwell listed six charges, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Maxwell was also accused of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, sex trafficking conspiracy.

She has yet to be sentenced after being convicted last month on five of the six counts she faced.

She was found not guilty of one count – enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.

The court in the Southern District of New York heard that Maxwell imposed a “culture of silence… by design” at Epstein’s properties, where staff were told to “see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing”.

The prosecution told the jury that while the “horrific abuse” was going on, the defendant lived a “life of luxury” and the trafficking was described as a “means to support her lifestyle”.

Ghislaine Maxwell court case
Defence lawyers Laura Menninger (left) and Jeffrey Pagliuca (middle right) leaving the federal courthouse after Maxwell was convicted (Anthony Behar/PA)

The court has set a deadline of February 2 for the prosecution’s response to the motion for a new trial, and February 9 for the defence reply, while the judge previously delayed the preparation of a pre-sentence report until April while post-trial motions are resolved.

Lawyer Jill Greenfield, who represented alleged UK victims of Epstein in civil claims, told the PA news agency: “I am upset for the victims and those that gave evidence at trial. To have done that once is obviously very difficult for them but the uncertainty surrounding this is, I am sure, causing them a great deal of anxiety.”

With the fortune he made from his financial dealings, Epstein and Maxwell lived a life of luxury jetting around the world and living at the millionaire’s many properties around the world while bragging about being friends with high-profile figures, including former US president Donald Trump.

Maxwell’s friends also included royalty.

She had known the Duke of York since her days at university and introduced Andrew to Epstein.

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