Ghislaine Maxwell has filed an appeal in hopes of vacating her 20-year sentence for assisting disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein to abuse four teenage girls.
In the filing, Maxwell’s lawyers argued that “fatal” errors in the case against her should be considered sufficient to overturn her conviction and that the prosecution used her as a “proxy” for Epstein after his death.
“It did so to satisfy public outrage over an unpopular non-prosecution agreement and the death of the person responsible for the crimes,” attorney Arthur Aidala wrote, according to Law & Crime.
“In its zeal to pin the blame for its own incompetence and for Epstein’s crimes on Maxwell, the Government breached its promise not to prosecute Maxwell, charged her with time-barred offenses, resurrected and recast decades-old allegations for conduct previously ascribed to Epstein and other named assistants, and joined forces with complainants’ civil attorneys, whose interests were financial, to develop new allegations that would support charges against Maxwell,” her lawyers argue in the filing.
In addition, her lawyers claim, the jury was tarnished by the presence of a juror who had been molested as a child but who had failed to disclose that on a pre-trial questionnaire, according to the New York Post.
They also argue that the inhumane conditions of her confinement during her trial — which included “claims of raw sewage, sleep and water deprivation, and hyper-surveillance,” according to Reuters — were so egregious as to leave her too “disoriented and diminished” to contribute to her own defense.
Finally, lawyers argued that the trial never should never have even happened, as Maxwell was covered at the time by a non-prosecution agreement.
“The Government breached a non-prosecution agreement that immunized Ms. Maxwell for these offenses. That agreement was entered into by the Government and Epstein in 2007, and, by its terms, unambiguously barred this prosecution,” they wrote.
Judge Alison J. Nathan sentenced Maxwell to 20 years in June, a sentence that, if carried out fully, ensured the now-61-year-old would likely spend much of her remaining life in prison, The New York Times reported at the time.
“Maxwell was a sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing,” federal prosecutor Alison Moe said in pre-sentencing arguments, according to a separate New York Times report. “She manipulated her victims and groomed them for sexual abuse.”
Several victims of the British heiress gave statements to the court before Maxwell’s sentencing. A lawyer for Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre read a statement on her behalf.
“I would never have met Jeffrey Epstein but for you,” the statement said. “You deserve to spend the rest of your life in a jail cell.”
“You deserve to be trapped in a cage,” she added.
The prosecution criticized what it described as Maxwell’s lack of remorse and refusal to take responsibility for her crimes.
The prosecution had sought a minimum sentence of 30 years with a maximum of 55 years, the Times reported, while the defense had argued for Maxwell to serve four to five years in federal prison.
You can access the entire text of the filed appeal here:
Maxwell, now 61, is currently imprisoned at a low-security federal prison near Tallahassee, Florida, the Post noted.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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