22:11 GMT04 March 2021
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    Ghislaine Maxwell has suggested among other things that her prosecution stems exclusively from the death of her erstwhile partner Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his jail cell while awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges in August 2019.

    Jeffrey Epstein’s suspected “madame” Ghislaine Maxwell, who is awaiting trial on six federal charges of sex abuse and exploitation, has filed two motions to dismiss the counts in her criminal case, according to newly released court documents.

    In the first one filed on 25 January, Maxwell’s legal team insists that counts from one through four, which charge the sometime British socialite and daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell with conspiracy to solicit underage girls for sex with Epstein, should be dropped because the alleged criminal activity dates back to more than two decades ago.

    “Because Counts One through Four charge Ms Maxwell with offences that were completed no later than 1997, and because the indictment was not returned until July 2020, these counts are time-barred unless ‘otherwise expressly provided by law,'” the filing states, as quoted by the NY Post.

    In a separate document, the lawyers for the embattled socialite moved to drop the other two counts that slap perjury charges on her, suggesting she lied to judges about being completely in the dark about Epstein’s illicit sex with underage girls.

    The charges were brought in a civil defamation suit that Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the most prominent Epstein accuser, filed against her.

    Virginia Roberts Giuffre, center, who says she was trafficked by sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, holds a news conference outside a Manhattan court
    © AP Photo / Bebeto Matthews
    Virginia Roberts Giuffre, center, who says she was trafficked by sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, holds a news conference outside a Manhattan court

    The defamation counts “fail as a matter of law, because the questions posed were ambiguous, and the answers given were true”. Court papers suggested that “both the questions and answers were immaterial to the defamation action”, summing up that “accordingly, the Court should dismiss Counts Five and Six”.

    Targeted as ‘Substitute’ for Epstein?

    Elsewhere in the unsealed filings, the lawyers for Maxwell argued their client’s prosecution came right after Jeffrey Epstein’s death not by chance, claiming she is targeted as his “substitute”.

    “The government has sought to substitute our client for Jeffrey Epstein, even if it means stretching - and ultimately exceeding - the bounds of the law,” one of the documents reads, dwelling on the “government’s sudden zeal” to prosecute the woman.

    Epstein, who had already been convicted once of paedophilia years before his arrest in July 2019, committed suicide in his Manhattan prison cell a month after detention, in August.

    Twice Denied Bail

    Maxwell, 59, is scheduled for a July trial on charges that she hired three teenage girls from 1994 to 1997 for Epstein sexually to abuse. Sometimes, prosecutors alleged, Maxwell joined in, using the pretext of massage services.

    Maxwell, who has citizenship in the US, the United Kingdom and France, remains jailed on the grounds that she is a high “flight risk” after having been twice rejected bail. If convicted of all six federal charges, she will face up to 35 years behind bars.

     In this July 2, 2020 file photo, Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference in New York, to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein
    © AP Photo / John Minchillo
    In this July 2, 2020 file photo, Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference in New York, to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein

    Ghislaine, criminally charged with aiding her one-time lover with his sex-trafficking "empire", has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, denying whatever wrongdoing she is accused of.  Separately, she testified in 2014 that she had no memory of anything suspicious on Epstein’s multiple properties, despite the accusations and testimony of a number of women.

    In particular, Maxwell expressed frustration during her deposition for defamation in 2016 saying she learnt about Epstein’s sex abuse allegations “like everybody else, like the rest of the world, when it was announced in the papers”.

    Related:

    US Judge Again Denies Bail to Jeffrey Epstein Associate Ghislaine Maxwell
    Alleged Epstein Victim Says Ghislaine Maxwell Belongs Under 'Lock & Key' After 'Pimp' Loses Bail Bid
    British Pablo Escobar: Ghislaine Maxwell Offered to Pay for Her Own Guards in a Failed Bail Attempt
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    trial, court, sex abuse, Ghislaine Maxwell
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