Ghislaine Maxwell appeals conviction, saying she was unfairly tried as proxy for Jeffrey Epstein
New York Daily News March 1, 2023
NEW YORK (Tribune News Service) — Ghislaine Maxwell appealed her sex trafficking conviction on Tuesday, claiming the feds unfairly used her as a proxy for Jeffrey Epstein after he killed himself in their custody.
The former British socialite asked the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn her conviction based on what her lawyers described as the feds framing her. They argue that the government was motivated by a “zeal to pin the blame for its own incompetence” after Epstein’s suicide. Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison in June.
“The government prosecuted Ms. Maxwell ... as a proxy for Jeffrey Epstein,” Maxwell’s appeal lawyer Diana Fabi Samson wrote in the papers filed late Tuesday. “It did so to satisfy public outrage over an unpopular non-prosecution agreement and the death of the person responsible for the crimes.”
Prosecutors “joined forces” with lawyers for Epstein victims “to develop new allegations that would support charges” against her, the appeal alleges. It accuses the victims’ lawyers of encouraging them to testify to improve their financial prospects. During her month-long trial, Maxwell’s defense lawyers aggressively cross-examined four women who testified about suffering under her and Epstein in their youth — Annie Farmer, Carolyn, Kate, and Jane — about payouts they received from Epstein’s estate in an out-of-court claims program.
A spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, Nick Biase, declined to comment on the appeal.
Maxwell argues that her conviction violated Epstein’s much-maligned 2007 non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Florida, which allowed him to serve only one year in jail despite evidence of underage sex trafficking. Her lawyers claim she is among the “potential co-conspirators” Florida prosecutors agreed not to go after in their deal with Epstein, and that U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan should have held a hearing to determine their intentions.
The 61-year-old, who’s a citizen of the U.K, U.S. and France, also argued the feds were five years too late in bringing sex crimes charges against her, per the statute of limitations.
Her appeal says that a juror who concealed their history of being abused deprived Maxwell of the constitutional right to be tried by a fair and impartial jury.
And the court papers accuse Judge Nathan, who was nominated to the 2nd Circuit appeals court during Maxwell’s trial, of mishandling her sentence.
Epstein died at Manhattan’s now-shuttered Metropolitan Correctional Complex in August 2019 about a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges. Federal authorities said he hanged himself.
Maxwell was arrested about a year later while hiding out at a ritzy timber-frame mansion in New Hampshire guarded by former English military members.
During her trial in late 2021, jurors heard of how the Oxford-educated daughter of a media mogul recruited girls as young as 14 for Epstein to sexually abuse and assault, acts she sometimes joined in on.
The abuse typically occurred under the guise of massages at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, Upper East Side townhouse and, remote “Zorro” ranch in New Mexico, trial evidence showed.
Witnesses described Maxwell as Epstein’s “lady of the house,” who enforced a strict code of conduct oriented around his sick sexual desires. Jurors heard evidence about how she kept a basket full of sex toys in a private bathroom at Epstein’s Florida home, which he used during the court of his abuse.
Maxwell is serving her prison sentence at low-security women’s prison FCI Tallahassee in Florida.
©2023 New York Daily News.
Visit at nydailynews.com.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.