The lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell, the former British socialite and alleged madam for the convicted late pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, filed several appeals claiming that her indictment was time-barred and violated a settlement the US government reached with Epstein more than a decade earlier, before facing fresh sex-trafficking charges, Law & Crime reported.
The federal judge Alison Nathan on Friday dismissed all of Maxwell's motions except one that could possibly divide her potential trial into two parts.
According to the report, an unusual clause of the plea bargain federal prosecutors in Florida negotiated with Epstein in 2007, a non-prosecution arrangement purporting to protect Epstein's "potential co-conspirators," was one of Maxwell's many attacks on her prosecution.
Epstein agreed to the deal with the Southern District of Florida, not the Southern District of New York, according to Nathan, a US District Judge.
"The court concludes that the agreement does not apply in this District or to the charged offenses,” the judge stipulated in a 34-page opinion.
The indictment against Maxwell was first filed in July 2020, and it related to alleged felonies that occurred between 1994 and 1997.
According to the report, while most non-capital offences have a five-year statute of limitations, Congress gave prosecutors more leeway for crimes involving children when it passed the PROTECT Act of 2003, which provided for prosecution at any point during the victim's life.
The judge dismissed Maxwell's defense counsel's claim that the legislation did not apply retroactively.
However, Maxwell did achieve some success, allowing her to cut her trials in two. The first will look at charges that she groomed and exploited young women and girls in preparation for Epstein's exploitation, while the second will look at whether she lied in depositions while defending defamation cases brought by one of the alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre.
"Although some allegations of sexual abuse are relevant to both sets of charges, many are not,” Nathan wrote. "At a minimum, this will expand the scope of the trial far beyond the narrower issues presented. And while the court agrees with the government that at least some of Maxwell’s concerns are overstated, there is little question that the jury’s consideration of the nature of the defamation action will require a significant investment of time and resources to provide the requisite context."
Maxwell has reportedly requested that her trial, which is set to begin on July 12 this year, be postponed. Prosecutors have indicated that they would oppose it.
The 59-year-old, who is being held in custody in Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center, faces eight charges, including sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of minors to engage in illegal sexual actions. Maxwell continues to insist she is innocent, as her attorneys say the prosecution has made her a scapegoat for Epstein's crimes.