Judge denies Ghislaine Maxwell’s motion to overturn her conviction on sex trafficking charges

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A U.S. judge on Friday denied a motion by Ghislaine Maxwell to overturn her December 2021 conviction on sex trafficking charges for her role in helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.

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The judge, in Friday’s 45-page ruling, did however combine all three of the conspiracy counts she was convicted of into one, meaning she will be sentenced on three counts, not five, on June 28. 

Each of those counts carried a maximum five year sentence, and it remains unclear if Maxwell, 60, will now have her sentence slashed by up to ten years.

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But the other two counts she’ll also be sentenced on carry a combined maximum of 50 years in prison.

That means she’s likely to die in jail if sentenced at the upper end of the options available to the judge.  

Maxwell was convicted on December 29 of federal charges of sex trafficking.

Yet immediately after the trial one of the jurors, Scotty David, revealed that he had been sexually abused, and said that he used his experiences to inform the jury’s deliberations.

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Maxwell’s team immediately sought a retrial, pointing out that all potential jurors were asked in their questionnaire if they were survivors of sexual abuse, and he said no.

In March, David was brought back before the judge, and apologized for failing to disclose the information.

On April 1, Judge Alison Nathan denied Maxwell a retrial.

On Friday, she refused Maxwell’s bid to be acquitted.  

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A U.S. judge on Friday denied a motion by Ghislaine Maxwell to overturn her December 2021 conviction on sex trafficking charges for her role in helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls

A U.S. judge on Friday denied a motion by Ghislaine Maxwell to overturn her December 2021 conviction on sex trafficking charges for her role in helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls 

MAXWELL’S CHARGES

COUNT ONE: conspiracy to entice individuals under the age of seventeen to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in sexual activity illegal under New York law – GUILTY, maximum 5 years

COUNT TWO: enticement of individuals under the age of seventeen to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in sexual activity illegal under New York law, and aiding and abetting the same – NOT GUILTY

COUNT THREE: conspiracy to transport individuals under the age of seventeen to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in sexual activity illegal under New York law – GUILTY, maximum 5 years

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COUNT FOUR: transportation of an individual under the age of seventeen with intent to engage in sexual activity illegal under New York law, and aiding and abetting the same – GUILTY, maximum 10 years

COUNT FIVE: conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of individuals under the age of eighteen – GUILTY, maximum 5 years

COUNT SIX: sex trafficking of an individual under the age of eighteen, and aiding and abetting the same – GUILTY, maximum 40 years

 

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Judge Nathan found that count one – conspiracy to traffic minors across state lines for sex – was similar to count three.

Count three dealt with conspiracy to transport minors across state lines for sex.

She also found that count five – conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors – was similar to three, so combined them.

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As a result, Maxwell will be sentenced on a new count, combining one, three and five, detailing with conspiracy to sex traffic minors.

Each of those conspiracy counts carried a maximum five year sentence. 

It was unclear if the combined count would carry a maximum sentence of five or 15 years. 

She will also be sentenced on counts four and six – count four carrying a maximum of 10 years, and six being the most serious, and carrying a potential 40 year sentence.

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The jury found her not guilty of count two. 

A sentencing date has been set for June 28.  

Mitch Epner, a former sex-trafficking prosecutor, told Law and Crime website that he expected the sentencing guidelines would remain the same.

‘The dismissal of the these two counts will not make any difference whatsoever in the guidelines calculation for Ghislaine Maxwell’s sentence, and is highly unlikely to make any difference in the actual sentence that’s imposed,’ he said. 

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‘Because these are multiplicitous, meaning they’re overlapping with other charges, they’re already fully accounted for.’

Maxwell’s lawyers had hoped, in a final roll of the dice, that Judge Nathan would acquit her.

But the judge on Friday dashed their hopes. 

Maxwell, a British heiress with French and US citizenship, is pictured in June 2013, at a meeting of her short-lived environmental foundation Terra Mar

Maxwell, a British heiress with French and US citizenship, is pictured in June 2013, at a meeting of her short-lived environmental foundation Terra Mar

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Maxwell is pictured in court on March 8 as Scotty David (right) discusses his reasons for failing to disclose his history of being sexually abused

Maxwell is pictured in court on March 8 as Scotty David (right) discusses his reasons for failing to disclose his history of being sexually abused

Maxwell and Epstein are pictured on his private jet. The pair were romantically involved in the early 1990s, and she then became his assistant and confidante

Maxwell and Epstein are pictured on his private jet. The pair were romantically involved in the early 1990s, and she then became his assistant and confidante

Maxwell and Epstein are photographed together in their younger years. She moved to New York in the early 1990s, which is when she is believed to have met him

Maxwell and Epstein are photographed together in their younger years. She moved to New York in the early 1990s, which is when she is believed to have met him

‘In 2020, the defendant Ghislaine Maxwell was indicted for her participation in a scheme to entice, transport, and traffic underage girls for sexual abuse by and with Jeffrey Epstein, her longtime companion,’ Nathan began her 45-page opinion and order on Friday. 

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‘The Government at trial presented extensive witness testimony from multiple victim witnesses and others, as well as corroborating documentary and physical evidence. 

‘The testimony and other trial evidence established the Defendant’s role in grooming and recruiting underage girls and using the cover of massage to perpetrate sexual abuse.’

Nathan, who recently ascended to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, found that Maxwell’s ‘guilty verdicts were readily supported by the extensive witness testimony and documentary evidence admitted at trial.’

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 at age 66 while awaiting trial on sex crimes charges. 

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Maxwell’s lawyers argued throughout the trail that she was being prosecuted for the crimes he committed. 

During her trial, four women testified that she had groomed them for sex with her pedophile ex, for whom she worked as an assistant and property manager.

‘It is crystal clear that Maxwell knew about and was deeply involved in Epstein’s sexual abuse of children,’ said Alison Moe, an assistant U.S. attorney, in a closing argument. 

‘Maxwell was key to the whole operation.’

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