News / 

Maxwell says U.S. is prosecuting her only because Jeffrey Epstein is dead

FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing where she was denied bail for her role aiding Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and eventually abuse of minor girls, in Manhattan Federal Court, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. July 14, 2020 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg


1 photo
Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lawyers for the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell have accused the U.S. government of prosecuting her for aiding Jeffrey Epstein's sexual abuses only because Epstein is dead and they want to hold someone else responsible.

The accusation was made in one of several Thursday night court filings seeking to dismiss or narrow the case against Maxwell, who is accused of helping Epstein recruit three teenage girls for sex between 1994 and 1997, and then lying about it.

Maxwell, 59, was charged last July, 11 months after Epstein killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell while awaiting sex trafficking charges.

Her lawyers said the government's "sudden zeal" to concoct a case branding Maxwell as "Epstein's equal - if not his superior" reflected its effort to evade a 2007 non-prosecution agreement for Epstein that also covered associates like her.

"One does not need to engage in complex analysis to understand what has happened here: the government has sought to substitute our client for Jeffrey Epstein," her lawyers wrote.

"In trying 'to get' Ms. Maxwell, the government compromised its standards, cut corners, and exceeded its authority under the law."

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment on Friday.

Maxwell is being held in jail in Brooklyn, and has been denied bail twice.

She has raised other arguments for dismissal, including that the suburban grand jury that indicted her included too few Blacks and Hispanics, depriving her of her right to diversity.

Epstein's nonprosecution agreement shielded him and his associates from federal charges over his alleged sexual abuses at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.

He pleaded guilty to a Florida state prostitution charge and served just 13 months in jail.

Some of Epstein's accusers have said they were wrongly kept in the dark while the agreement was negotiated.

A federal appeals court in Atlanta is considering their effort to void it, which would let them discuss with prosecutors why Epstein's associates should be charged.

Strauss' office has said the agreement applies only in Florida.

The case is U.S. v. Maxwell, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 20-cr-00330.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021


Most recent News stories

Jonathan Stempel


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast