Wednesday Mar 01, 2023
NEW YORK: Britain’s Prince Andrew's former friend Ghislaine Maxwell has asked a US appeals court to throw out her conviction for helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls, saying a slew of errors marred her trial and prosecutors made her a scapegoat because the financier was dead.
"The government prosecuted Ms. Maxwell as a proxy for Jeffrey Epstein" to satisfy "public outrage" over the case, making the British socialite the target of unprecedented "vilification," Maxwell's lawyers said in a Tuesday night filing with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
Maxwell's lawyers offered several arguments for dismissing the case or granting a new trial, including that she was immune from prosecution, prosecutors waited too long to charge her, and one of her jurors was biased.
A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan declined to comment.
Maxwell, 61, is serving a 20-year prison sentence after a Manhattan jury convicted her in December 2021 on five charges for recruiting and grooming four girls for abuse by Epstein between 1994 and 2004.
Epstein killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019, one month after being charged with sex trafficking.
Maxwell's trial team had tried to discredit her accusers and claimed that prosecutors made her case a legal reckoning that Epstein, a registered sex offender, never had.
Hundreds of women claimed to be victims of Epstein's abuse, and famous people, most notably Britain's Prince Andrew, who were friendly with him have seen their reputations tarred or destroyed.
Maxwell, the daughter of late British media mogul Robert Maxwell, retained for her appeal a new legal team led by Arthur Aidala, who in 2020 represented the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein at his first crimes trial.
Meanwhile, according to BBC, Prince Andrew had denied being a close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell, in a legal response to Virginia Giuffre who had sued him in the US for sexual assault. (Web Desk/Reuters)