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Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers cite Cosby case in bid to have sex trafficking charges dropped

"The government is trying to renege on its agreement," Maxwell's attorney's said.
Image: Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City in 2005.Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images file

Former Jeffrey Epstein confidant Ghislaine Maxwell should have several counts in the indictment against her dropped because she is in a "similar situation" to Bill Cosby, her attorneys said in a court filing late Friday.

They argue that Maxwell, 59, who is alleged to have recruited teenage girls from the mid-1990s to 2004 for Epstein to sexually abuse, was covered by a nonprosecution agreement at the time she was charged.

Cosby was convicted in 2018 of indecent assault in the drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004, when she was a Temple University employee. But he was released earlier this week after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found prosecutors violated his rights by reneging on an apparent promise not to charge him.

Maxwell's legal team claims she is covered by an NPA agreed to in 2007 between federal prosecutors in Miami and Epstein. Although it does not name Maxwell specifically, prosecutors agreed not to charge any co-conspirators, the filing said.

"The government is trying to renege on its agreement and prosecute Ms. Maxwell over 25 years later for the exact same offenses for which she was granted immunity in the NPA," the filing says, adding that she is in a "similar situation" to Cosby.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan, New York, have yet to respond to the latest court filing, but they have previously argued that the NPA — to which Maxwell is not a party and never signed — does not apply to her.

Her legal team's argument is the latest among numerous approaches — so far unsuccessful — that Maxwell's lawyers have taken to try to nullify the charges against her.

Maxwell has denied all of the allegations through her attorneys and consistently pleaded not guilty.

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Maxwell was already facing six counts tied to Epstein's alleged sex trafficking network, but in March federal prosecutors expanded the criminal case against her with an eight-count indictment accusing her of grooming and paying a 14-year-old girl to engage in sex acts with Epstein at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, from 2001 to 2004.

Maxwell "sought to normalize inappropriate and abusive conduct by, among other things, discussing sexual topics in front of [the victim] and being present when [the victim] was nude in the massage room of the Palm Beach residence" of Epstein, the indictment said.

Image: Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing in New York.
In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing in New York on July 14.Jane Rosenberg / Reuters file

Epstein died aged 66 by suicide in August 2019 as he awaited trial in his federal jail cell in downtown Manhattan.

Maxwell was arrested at a remote New Hampshire mansion in July and is set to go on trial later this year.

She is currently in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, where her lawyers have complained that she is being held under "uniquely onerous conditions" and subjected to round-the-clock surveillance and body scans.