On Tuesday, convicted sexual predator Ghislaine Maxwell appealed her sex-trafficking conviction in Manhattan federal court, arguing that prosecutors and the judge made “fatal” mistakes in her case.
According to Maxwell’s attorney Arthur Aidala, the Justice Department prosecuted his client as a “proxy” for Jeffrey Epstein to “satisfy public outrage” after his sudden death in custody.
Aidala accuses the government of collaborating with Epstein’s accusers “to develop new allegations out of faded, distorted, and motivated memories.”
In December 2021, a Manhattan federal court jury found Maxwell guilty on five of six counts, including sex trafficking of minors and assisting a pedophile in grooming young women and girls for his abuse.
In June 2022, she was sentenced to prison for 20 years.
In earlier court filings, Maxwell’s other attorney, John Leventhal, stated that the appeal would concentrate on five points raising questions “pertaining to statute of limitations; a non-prosecutions agreement; juror misconduct and a post-verdict hearing; and sentence.”
He stated Tuesday, “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, in the first instance.”
In several media interviews after Maxwell’s conviction, a juror named Scotty David admitted that he had been sexually abused as a child but had kept that information to himself during the jury selection process.
Judge Alison Nathan, who presided over the trial, upheld Maxwell’s conviction despite the admission briefly casting doubt on it.
In his statement, Aidala said that the appellant’s third argument would focus on the alleged wrongdoing of the jury.
“Ms. Maxwell was denied her right to be tried by a fair and impartial jury when a juror revealed that he made materially false statements in jury selection that concealed that he had experienced the ‘exact same thing’ as the victims, namely, childhood sexual abuse,” Aidala wrote.
“To compound the error, during jury deliberations, he used his undisclosed prior experience to convince other jurors that the defendant was guilty.”
Maxwell is currently detained at a low-security facility close to Tallahassee in Florida.