Federal prosecutors are calling out Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense for “nefarious motivations” and “conspiracy theories” after her attorneys protested the timing of the government’s superseding indictment against their client, calling it an “obvious tactical gamesmanship.”
The government added two new charges on March 29 against Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam, that stem from a new accuser referred in the indictment as “Minor Victim-4.” They say Maxwell groomed and sex-trafficked a 14-year-old girl for Epstein to abuse between 2001 and 2004 at his Palm Beach estate in Florida. That spurred defense attorneys to express disgust for the timing to Judge Alison Nathanas as they said it was just three months ahead of the scheduled trial date. The lawyers admitted their consideration for an adjournment request.
In a new filing Friday, the government opposed any adjournments as they argued that the defense has enough time to prepare for the case. Given the new accuser and evidence, the Department of Justice is now predicting a four-week trial instead of three. The trial is currently scheduled for July 12.
“Although trial may be modestly longer as a result, the S2 Indictment by no means opens the floodgate of witnesses the defense imagines; to the contrary, the government expects to present a streamlined case focusing primarily on the four minor victims,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey wrote.
Prosecutors also opposed any reconsideration of Maxwell’s detainment while awaiting trial. The defendant has renewed her efforts to be released on bail and has now been denied three times. She is appealing the latest decision to a higher court.
Regarding the 14-year-old minor, it has been revealed that, despite having “been interviewed once in or about 2007 during the Florida Investigation,” she only came forward to the feds last summer. The government then conducted two preliminary interviews with the “minor victim” by video teleconference, but “because of the difficult nature of the interview topics,” officials weren’t able to fully debrief her over video.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, officials said, it wasn’t until January that prosecutors were able to meet and interview her “multiple” times. She resides “more than a day’s drive away from New York,” officials explained. After taking investigative steps over a couple of months, the government stated it was then ready to prepare a new indictment.
Maxwell, 59, is charged with recruiting, grooming and trafficking girls to be sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein in the 1990s through 2004 and for lying under oath. She’s being held at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York. Her arraignment on the new charges is scheduled for April 23.
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