EVIL predator Ghislaine Maxwell is going to appeal her sex trafficking conviction in a bid to escape justice.
The shamed socialite, 60, helped entice vulnerable teens to ex-lover Jeffrey Epstein’s properties for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.
Judge Alison Nathan dealt several blows to the defence including denying a request to have some witnesses testify anonymously and another to block lawyers for some accusers from taking the stand.
Legal experts said Maxwell’s lawyers are likely to cite such rulings in any appeal of her conviction on five of six counts, including sex trafficking, by a jury in federal court in Manhattan.
But to succeed, her lawyers would have to show that Nathan violated federal rules of evidence or abused her discretion.
Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said: “We have already started working on the appeal and we are confident that she will be vindicated.”
Even if an appeals court agreed that Nathan made a mistake, Maxwell’s lawyers would need to show that it mattered to the outcome of the case.
A “harmless error” is not enough to overturn a conviction, according to Bennett Gershman, a professor at Pace Law School.
“It’s a very heavy burden,” Gershman said, adding that federal appeals courts tend to defer to trial judges.
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AGE OF CONSENT
Another avenue of appeal for the defence might be to argue that the testimony of Kate was improperly admitted.
While described in the indictment as a victim, Nathan instructed the jury that Kate was actually over the age of consent at the time of her alleged encounters with Epstein.
However, Nathan said the jury could still consider her testimony if they found it useful.
“While the court limited that testimony and gave the jury an appropriate limiting instruction, the defence may continue to argue that Kate’s testimony should have been excluded,” said Sarah Krissoff, a former federal prosecutor.
MAXWELL ‘IGNORED WRONGDOING’
The defence also objected to Nathan’s instruction to the jury that they could find Maxwell guilty if she deliberately ignored evidence of Epstein’s wrongdoing, a legal concept known as “conscious avoidance.”
Ghislaine’s lawyers argued that prosecutors’ theory of the case was that she was an active participant, not a mere bystander, and accused prosecutors of trying to “have it both ways.”
Nathan ultimately allowed the instruction after noting the defence itself had sought to show during opening statements and cross-examination of witnesses that Maxwell was unaware of Epstein’s behaviour.
“Maxwell will have an uphill battle challenging the conscious avoidance charge, as the government presented a factual basis for such a charge,” Krissoff said.
BLOCKING LAWYERS FROM TAKING STAND
Maxwell’s defence had wanted to call lawyers, who represented the victim known as ‘Kate’, in an apparent bid to draw further attention to the Epstein Victim Compensation Fund.
The fund paid out around $150m to victims of the sex trafficker, including Kate who reportedly received $3.2m
Another woman who testified for the defence named ‘Carolyn’ was paid $2.8m by the fund.
This defence request was denied by Judge Nathan.
GHISLAINE Maxwell was found guilty of five out of six charges over her alleged involvement with Jeffrey Epstein. Those charges are:
- Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
- Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
- Transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
- Sex trafficking conspiracy
- Sex trafficking of a minor
Maxwell was acquitted of the charge of enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex
Maxwell’s lawyers may also raise on appeal Nathan’s ruling preventing three defence witnesses from testifying anonymously.
Three of Maxwell’s four accusers testified under pseudonyms or used only their first names to protect their privacy as victims of sexual abuse.
But Nathan said privacy concerns did not apply to the defence witnesses because none of them intended to testify about sensitive personal topics or sexual conduct.
Gershman said any appeal would be hampered by the fact that Maxwell’s lawyers waited until near the end of the trial to ask for anonymity.
He said: “If they felt this was a serious concern, they should have raised this before the trial.”
MAXWELL IS NOT EPSTEIN
Maxwell’s defence argued that the socialite was being blamed for the crimes of her former lover Jeffrey Epstein.
The multi-millionaire died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of operating a vast sex trafficking ring.
In his opening statement, Maxwell’s lead lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said: “Ever since Eve was accused of tempting Adam with the apple, women have been blamed for the bad behaviour of men.”