A federal judge isn’t letting Ghislaine Maxwell, an alleged accomplice of convicted pedophile and noted Bill Clinton associate Jeffrey Epstein, off the hook.
Law and Crime reports that U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan said no Friday to several motions filed by Maxwell’s attorneys, who were hoping to quash the charges against her with some tricky legal maneuvering.
In one motion, Maxwell and her legal team made the case to the judge that a plea deal signed by Epstein in 2007 shielded her, a potential co-conspirator in those crimes, from prosecution. But the judge disagreed, noting that the deal was signed with prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida, rather than the Southern District of New York, where Maxwell is currently being tried.
“The court concludes that the agreement does not apply in this District or to the charged offenses,” Nathan wrote in her opinion, according to Law and Crime.
In another motion, the defense tried to claim that the PROTECT Act of 2003, which eliminates the statute of limitations in some cases to allow child victims of violent crimes to come forward, could not be applied retroactively. But Nathan disagreed yet again.
“Maxwell contends that it is unfair to allow the government to prosecute her now for conduct that occurred more than twenty years ago, but there is no dispute that Congress has the power to set a lengthy limitations period or no limitations period at all,” the judge wrote, according to Law and Crime.
Nathan went on: “It has done so here, judging that the difficulty of prosecuting these offenses and the harm they work on children outweighs a defendant’s interest in repose. Maxwell’s fairness argument is a gripe with Congress’s policy judgment, not an impermissibly retroactive application of the statute.”
Maxwell did score one victory, however, as Reuters notes. The judge granted her a motion to divide the case into two separate trials, one of which is set to focus on claims that Maxwell lied in depositions during a defamation case involving Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, and another focusing on allegations that Maxwell groomed and abused young girls for Epstein.
“Although some allegations of sexual abuse are relevant to both sets of charges, many are not,” Nathan said in her ruling, as Law and Crime reports.
“At a minimum, this will expand the scope of the trial far beyond the narrower issues presented,” the judge added. “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.”
Of course, these motions all apply only to charges for crimes alleged to have been committed between 1994 and 1997, as Law and Crime notes. Recently, prosecutors filed new charges involving Maxwell’s alleged conduct up through 2004.
Maxwell’s trial is reportedly slated for July 12, though the date is subject to change.