Judge Adjourns Ghislaine Maxwell’s Trial Until the Fall Because of New Sex Trafficking Indictment
A federal judge has stalled Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial until the fall of this year, mentioning the prosecution’s choice to bring a new indictment in late March adding federal sex trafficking charges.
“Having carefully considered the parties’ respective positions,the Court GRANTS Maxwell’s request for a brief continuance until the fall of 2021 to allow the defense to prepare for the additional charges brought from the S2 indictment,” U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan composed.
Federal prosecutors than any delay as trying to the sufferers.
“The longer this case remains pending, the longer the victims endure the anxiety of anticipating their trial testimony as well as the doubt of anticipating a resolution,” prosecutors wrote late last month. “As a result, multiple victims oppose any adjournment of the trial date.”
A grand jury brought a new indictment against Maxwell later prosecutors supplemented their case with someone known only in court documents as”Minor Victim-4.” Other anonymous sufferers told prosecutors they wanted a speedy trial.
“Specifically, Minor Victim-3 expressed feeling significant anxiety during the pendency of this case and also a powerful urge to have the case brought to a close during trial whenever you can,” prosecutors wrote in April. “Similarly, Minor Victim-2 also indicated that she has undergone an immense amount of anxiety while this case has been pending, wishes to observe the case brought to trial.”
Nathan confessed:”The Court is extremely aware of these countervailing factors that need that any adjournment be no longer than necessary.”
But the judge added that the additional chargesthat extend the time frame of the alleged conspiracy and introduce a new alleged victim, spells longer function for Maxwell’s defense.
“These developments will demand the defense (1) inspection a considerable amount of discovery that is now possibly applicable as a result of the S2 Indictment; (2) re-review discovery that it had considered in light of these changes to the case against her(3) conduct new investigations depending on the new fees, including potential interviews of witnesses; also (4) re-evaluate her trial preparation and strategy,” the judge’s ruling conditions.
Though New York has been habituated to open up again after long periods of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, the judge added that the outbreak stays a complicating element.
“As the Government suggested in explaining the delay in filing the new fees, travel limitations and other safety concerns caused by the pandemic have slowed trial preparation and complicated the logistics for conducting investigations,” she noted.
Prosecutors had argued that delay was unnecessary since Maxwell succeeded in splitting her upcoming trial in two. The very first trial is going to have jury evaluating claims that Maxwell participated in sexual trafficking and dressed and mistreated Jeffrey Epstein’s sufferers. The second will evaluate if she lied about it under oath in civil litigation with Virginia Giuffre, who alleged Maxwell defamed her from denying it.
“Although the perjury counts were recently severed, the court cannot conclude that this adequately offsets the additional burdens put on the defense as a result of the new fees and expanded time frame caused by the S2 indictment,” Nathan’s ruling states.
Maxwell pleaded not guilty to the new indictment late every month, when she appeared in court in person for the very first time because of her arraignment. Previous hearings were virtual in light of coronavirus-related constraints which were in place since her first indictment in July 2020.
Judge Nathan ordered prosecutors and defense counsel to indicate a fall trial date by May 10, only 1 week from now.
Read the document here.
[picture via JOHANNES EISELE/AFP through Getty Images]
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