Prosecutors offer to drop Ghislaine Maxwell perjury charges if she is not granted retrial

Victims want to avoid the ‘trauma’ of having to testify again, Assistant US Attorneys say

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 11 January 2022 14:44 GMT
<p>Prosecutors have said they are prepared to dismiss two perjury charges against Ghislaine Maxwell </p>

Prosecutors have said they are prepared to dismiss two perjury charges against Ghislaine Maxwell

Prosecutors are prepared to dismiss two perjury charges against Ghislaine Maxwell if she is not granted a retrial in her sex-trafficking case.

In a letter to US District Judge Alison Nathan on Monday night, prosecutors said dropping the perjury counts would reflect the victims’ “significant interests in bringing closure to this matter and avoiding the trauma of testifying again”.

They also asked the Manhattan judge to sentence Maxwell within about three to four months.

Lawyers for Maxwell oppose setting any timetable, believing one juror’s post-trial revelations about having been sexually abused was a “compelling basis” to overturn their client’s conviction and grant a new trial.

Maxwell, 60, faces up to 65 years in prison after she was convicted last month of recruiting and grooming four young girls for Jeffrey Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004.

Lawyers for the British socialite challenged the conviction after one juror revealed he shared his experience of having been sexually abused as a child when some jurors expressed scepticism about the accounts of two Maxwell accusers.

That juror’s disclosures to the media “influenced the deliberations and convinced other members of the jury to convict Ms Maxwell,” Maxwell’s lawyers have argued.

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell sits as the guilty verdict in her sex abuse trial is read in a courtroom sketch in New York City, US, 29 December 2021

The perjury charges concern allegations that Maxwell lied about her knowledge of Epstein’s behaviour during depositions taken in 2016 for a separate civil lawsuit.

Each charge carries a maximum five-year prison term. Judge Nathan decided last April to try them in a separate trial.

The judge gave Maxwell’s lawyers until 19 January to formally explain why the conviction should be overturned. Prosecutors have until 2 February to respond.

Epstein, a financier and convicted sex offender, killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting his own sex-trafficking trial.

In Monday’s court filing, defence attorneys said Maxwell should not be forced to “expend resources” while they await the outcome of their motion to dismiss the conviction.

Maxwell should not be required to participate in the preparation of a presentence report as it would adversely her Fifth Amendment rights, they said.

“Ms Maxwell will be forced into the position of not cooperating with the Probation Department’s investigation because any statement she makes to Probation, and any documents she provides, may be used against her at her retrial,” the defence statement argued.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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