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A federal judge has dismissed Ghislaine Maxwell’s attempt to have sex trafficking charges against her thrown out, despite the British socialite’s claim that she should be immunized from the charges because of an agreement in place similar to the one that recently freed Bill Cosby.
Maxwell’s attorneys had argued that she should have been protected from the charges because of a non-prosecution agreement now deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein signed in 2008 with federal prosecutors in Florida.
As part of the agreement, Epstein, who had been accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls, agreed to plead guilty at the time to state-level charges of soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution, according to the Associated Press. By accepting the plea deal, Epstein served 13 months in a work release program rather than the life sentence he could have faced if convicted at trial.
Maxwell’s legal team argued that the agreement was similar to a 2005 agreement comedian Bill Coby made with Montgomery County (Pa.) prosecutors not to charge him with drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand—which then freed him up to testify in her civil lawsuit against him. Cosby was later charged, tried and convicted by a new Montgomery County district attorney, but was released from prison in June after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the original agreement with prosecutors should have protected him from being charged in the case.
In Maxwell’s case, however, Manhattan U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled that the agreement wasn’t applicable because Epstein had been the one to make the deal with prosecutors, not her.
“Even if this Court agreed with the analysis in [Cosby’s case], that opinion sheds no light on the proper interpretation of the NPA in this case,” Nathan wrote in the order, obtained by the New York Post.
Nathan also dismissed arguments by Maxwell's legal team that prosecutors waited too long to charge her for acts that allegedly occurred between 2001 and 2004, along with arguments that it had been unfair for prosecutors to use testimony from a civil case filed by Virginia Giuffre to build their case against her.
The British socialite, 59, has been accused of helping recruit and groom underage girls for Epstein. She’s facing an eight-count indictment, including charges of sexual trafficking, and could spend up to 80 years behind bars if convicted. She has pleaded not guilty in the case.
She’s currently being held in a Brooklyn federal jail.
Maxwell’s alleged role in the operation, and her connection to Epstein himself, is also the focus of the Peacock docuseries “Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell,” now streaming.
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