GHISLAINE Maxwell is due to face four alleged victims in the dock tomorrow as her sex-trafficking trial gets underway in New York.
But there are five ways the socialite, 59, could win her case as she faces up to 80 years in jail on six charges, including sex trafficking of a minor.
Ghislaine Maxwell is due to go on trial accused of sex trafficking several victims for Jeffrey EpsteinCredit: AP
Maxwell’s supporters claim she is being used as a ‘scapegoat’ after Epstein killed himself to avoid justice
Maxwell was arrested in July 2020 and has maintained her innocence ever since.
The heiress denies recruiting and trafficking underage girls for Epstein to abuse from 1994 to 1997.
Sources close to Maxwell reportedly told the Mail she “will do whatever it takes” to clear her name. Here are five ways she could WIN her case.
‘SCAPEGOAT’ FOR EPSTEIN
Maxwell has claimed she is being used as a scapegoat for Epstein.
He took his own life to avoid justice as he awaited trial for sex crimes in August 2019.
Maxwell’s lawyers are expected to emphasise that she was not charged in two previous indictments against her ex-boyfriend, including when he was jailed in 2008 for 18 months for procuring a child for prostitution in Florida.
Because of Epstein’s suicide, Maxwell’s brother Ian is convinced authorities want to make an example of her.
“The charges she currently faces were brought in an attempt to save face and give the baying crowd a scalp deflecting from the authorities’ own incompetence in allowing Epstein to die on their watch,” he said, reports the Sunday Times.
‘DESIRE FOR CASH’
According to pre-trial court filings, the four women who had levelled allegations against Maxwell have received “millions of dollars” from a compensation programme set up to after Epstein’s death.
It’s understood Maxwell’s lawyers could try to undermine the credibility of the alleged victims by claiming they are after money.
The Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program has awarded a total of $125million to 135 victims.
Maxwell has previously claimed that one alleged victim, Annie Farmer fabricated her accusations because she wanted cash.
One of Maxwell’s lawyers wrote: “The fact that plaintiff seeks money from the estate and from Ms Maxwell in the millions of dollars at the same time she is a government witness in an upcoming criminal trial on the same topic is reason enough to suspect that her newly asserted memories of abuse without corroboration are not based on the truth or a desire for ‘justice’, so much as her desire for cash.”
‘FALSE MEMORIES’ OF ABUSE
Leading cognitive psychologist professor Elizabeth Loftus is set argue that Maxwell’s alleged victims may have been influenced by media stories and conversations with other accusers into creating “false memories”.
Defence filings state: “Her testimony will concern the workings of human memory, the effects of suggestion on memory, the mechanism of creation of false memories, the characteristics of false memories, how memory fades and weakens over time, and how memory becomes more vulnerable to contamination.
“She will describe scientific research showing that false memories can be described with confidence, detail and emotion, just like true memories.
“This can occur when people come to believe in these experiences and are not deliberately lying.”
Prof Lotus, who is an expert in “false memories”, famously gave evidence at the trial of American footballer OJ Simpson in 1995.
RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL
Maxwell’s team could argue that her right to a fair trial has been scuppered by media coverage and other scrutiny following her arrest.
After she was taken into custody, William Sweeney, the FBI’s assistant director for New York, labelled her a “villain” who “slithered away to a gorgeous property”, for example.
Supporters also believe her wealthy background could sway jurors – who were asked before selection if they had strong opinions about those with “luxurious lifestyles”.
The judge is set to warn jurors to stay away from social media and disregard everything they have read so far.
AGE OF ACCUSERS
Lawyers for Maxwell are set to argue that not all of the alleged victims were underage.
Her accusers are listed as “Minor victims 1, 2, 3 and 4” on the indictment – but her team will highlight that one was 17 when she was allegedly assaulted and she age of consent is 16 in the UK.
Annie Farmer – who has waived her right to anonimity – claims she was sexually assaulted by Maxwell at paedo Epstein’s 7,500-acre ranch in New Mexico.
Lawyers note that the age of consent in New Mexico is 16.
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