13:21 GMT08 March 2021
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    The daughter of British billionaire Robert Maxwell was arrested by the FBI at the beginning of July and has since been awaiting trial in the Metropolitan Detention Centre in New York City. She faces six charges, including for sex trafficking and enticing minors - one as young as 14 - to engage in illegal sex acts.

    Lawyers of Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of procuring girls and women for late financier Jeffrey Epstein, have asked the judge to dismiss the case against her, citing a plea deal Epstein struck in the 2000s during his first criminal case. Among the 12 arguments presented by her legal team, there was one that claimed she was protected from prosecution due to Epstein’s agreement with prosecutors.

    Back in 2008, the financier, who pleaded guilty to two felony charges, including to soliciting a minor for prostitution, was ordered to register as a sex offender and was also jailed for 18 months. In return, prosecutors granted him and his potential co-conspirators, "including, but not limited to (the four)", immunity from all federal prosecution.

    Prosecutors argued that Maxwell was not mentioned in the plea deal by name and hence is not entitled to immunity. Previously, they argued that the plea deal was applied only in Florida, where Epstein was charged.

    However, Maxwell’s lawyers cited other arguments. In another claim, they wrote that her indictment must be suspended because it was obtained from a grand jury, where black and Hispanic jurors were underrepresented. Maxwell is neither Hispanic nor black.

    Who is Ghislaine Maxwell and Why Does She Matter?

    She is one of nine children of late publishing magnate Robert Maxwell. However, to the world she is mostly famous for being the girlfriend and life companion of financier Jeffrey Epstein. The latter was accused by dozens of women of sexual abuse. Epstein’s alleged victims claim Maxwell not only helped to lure them into the hands of the financier, promising well-paid jobs, but sometimes also took part in the abuse.

    Maxwell is said to have introduced Epstein to many celebrities and famous people, including to Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew. The latter is himself accused of sexual abuse by one of Epstein’s alleged victims.

    Epstein was arrested in 2019 on charges of running a sex trafficking network of minors, but didn’t live to stand the trial. On 10 August 2019, he was found dead in his prison cell. The news caused a wave of indignation among his accusers as well as sparked conspiracy theories, with people suggesting that he was killed by his powerful friends who were afraid of being implicated in the scandal.

    Maxwell is thus one of the few individuals who can shed light on Epstein’s crimes and his network.

    Her trial is scheduled for July. She pleaded not guilty to all charges. Maxwell maintains she was not aware of Epstein’s wrongdoings and claims she has been made a scapegoat for the disgraced financier.

    Related:

    'She's a Psychopath': Ghislaine Maxwell Might Try to Jump Bail, Alleged Victim Warns
    US Judge Again Denies Bail to Jeffrey Epstein Associate Ghislaine Maxwell
    Tags:
    sexual abuse, sex trafficking ring, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell
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