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U.S. willing to dismiss Ghislaine Maxwell perjury case if sex abuse conviction stands

Maxwell, 60, was convicted Dec. 29 for her role in recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein.

The U.S. government is willing to dismiss two perjury charges against Ghislaine Maxwell if her conviction for her role in recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein is allowed to stand, prosecutors have said.

The offer was put forward Monday in a joint letter prosecutors and Maxwell’s defense team delivered to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan.

Prosecutors said in the letter that dismissing the perjury counts would be in line with victims' “significant interests in bringing closure to this matter and avoiding the trauma of testifying again.”

Prosecutors also asked Nathan to sentence Maxwell, 60, in around three to four months' time. Her lawyers opposed setting a timeline.

Maxwell's attorneys said they believed that one juror's account of having been sexually abused in the past was a "compelling basis" to overturn Maxwell's conviction and grant a new trial.

The juror's experience, Maxwell's attorneys said, “influenced the deliberations and convinced other members of the jury to convict Ms. Maxwell," who faces up to 65 years in prison.

"The defense therefore objects to setting a schedule for sentencing until this motion is resolved," they said.

The jury of six men and six women found after six days of deliberations that Maxwell played a major part in recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein, her close confidant, from 1994 to 2004. She was convicted Dec. 29 of five federal sex trafficking charges.

Epstein, a wealthy financier, killed himself in a New York City jail cell in August 2019 as he awaited his own sex trafficking trial.

The perjury charges center on allegations that Maxwell lied about what she knew about Epstein's behavior in depositions taken in 2016 for a civil lawsuit.

Nathan had given Maxwell's lawyers until Jan. 19 to offer a formal explanation for why her conviction should be overturned, with prosecutors given until Feb. 2 to respond.