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Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense team has received permission to call as a witness an expert known for calling into question the memories of alleged victims at trial, including those of serial sexual abusers and murderers.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan granted Maxwell permission on Monday to call psychologist Elizabeth Loftus as an expert, exactly one week before the much-anticipated trial for the British socialite is scheduled to begin, Law & Crime reports.
The renowned cognitive psychologist, known for her work on the reliability of memory has infamously been called to testify for more than 300 trials. Some of the most notorious cases the 77-year-old has testified in include societal villains like Ted Bundy, Jerry Sandusky, and Harvey Weinstein, the Los Angeles Times reported last year. She has long expressed her theory that memory can be shaped by suggestion to create warped or false memories.
“The world is full of people who support accusers,” Loftus told the Los Angeles Times for a story last year on her involvement in the Weinstein trial, which saw the disgraced movie mogul convicted of rape and sexual assault. “I think people who are accused deserve some modicum of support as well.”
As a result, her research and tendency to defend alleged sex predators has at times put her at odds with the #MeToo movement.
Now, she's gearing up to help defend Maxwell, the 59-year-old former confidante of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell is accused of recruiting and grooming teen girls as part of the late predator's pyramid of sexual abuse. She faces six federal counts, including transporting minors to engage in criminal sexual activity and sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion. The disgraced socialite was arrested by the FBI in the summer of 2020 in New Hampshire, after nearly a year in hiding following Epstein's arrest and jailhouse death. Epstein, who was found hanged in his jail cell in August 2019 at age 66, just one month after he was arrested on federal sex trafficking charges, referred to Maxwell as his "best friend" in a 2003 Vanity Fair profile.
In the days leading up to Maxwell’s trial, Nathan has been sifting through more than 200 prospective jurors. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and has adamantly denied any wrongdoing.
For more on the case, watch Peacock’s “Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell.”
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