Ghislaine Maxwell has asked a US judge to dismiss the case accusing her of recruiting teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse – because her initial jury was “too white”.
She claims they were not enough black and Hispanic jurors on the panel that decided she should stand trial.
And she goes on to accuse prosecutors of using both the COVID-19 pandemic and the high-profile publicity surrounding the trial as excuses for moving it from Manhattan – where she believes it should be heard – to White Plains, New York, where blacks and Hispanics were “significantly underrepresented”.
Maxwell is not black or Hispanic, but she says she is being deprived of her constitutional right to be indicted by grand jurors drawn from a “fair cross section” of her community.
She further claims the indictment against her is “too vague” and should be thrown out.
British socialite Maxwell, 59, is being held in a Brooklyn jail after being denied bail twice, following her arrest on 2 July last year at her New Hampshire home.
She has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom three girls for sex in Manhattan in the mid-1990s, and to
lying about it under oath.
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Her trial is scheduled for 12 July.
In 2008, Epstein agreed to plead guilty to Florida state prostitution charges and register as a sex offender and was jailed for 13 months. The plea deal – a so-called “sweetheart arrangement” – meant he averted possible life in prison on federal charges and was not charged with sex trafficking.
Maxwell claims the agreement not to prosecute the late financier for trafficking also therefore shields her.
Former US attorney Geoffrey Berman said the New York office was not bound by Epstein’s agreement when it lodged sex trafficking charges against him in July 2019, saying the accord covered only southern Florida and did not cover Epstein’s alleged accomplices.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in August 2019 in his Manhattan jail cell.