Is Ghislaine Maxwell’s appeal bid doomed to failure? Experts doubt socialite can overturn sex trafficking verdict and say she should cooperate with prosecutors despite having four potential grounds for appeal
Ghislaine Maxwell‘s appeal bid is unlikely to succeed and she should cooperate with prosecutors to help reduce her sentence, legal experts have said.
Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim announced that she had ‘already started working on an appeal’ after the British socialite was found guilty of luring teenage girls for sexual abuse by her former lover Jeffrey Epstein on Wednesday.
But lawyers today said there were no ‘glaring legal issues’ that would make prosecutors nervous and it would be better for Maxwell to ‘drop a dime on all of Epstein’s friends.’
Maxwell has at least four potential grounds for appeal, according to a legal analysis by DailyMail.com, including the judge’s insistence that jurors should sit through the New Year’s Eve holiday.
Judge Alison Nathan said ‘astronomical’ Covid infections fueled by the Omicron variant meant there was a real risk of a ‘mistrial’.
Maxwell’s lawyers complained that such instructions were essentially telling the jury they needed to ‘hurry up.’
Bradley Simon, a defense lawyer with Windels Marx, said this was ‘a pretty good argument’ and recalled a case where a state judge pressured a jury because he was due to go on holiday.
‘That was a real no-no. The judge was censured,’ hy het vertel Die tye.
Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein are pictured sitting alongside a retriever at a shoot in the country in never before seen pictures which were released at the trial
Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim (pictured outside the court in NY) announced that they had ‘already started working on an appeal’ after the British socialite was found guilty on Wednesday
Judge Alison Nathan’s rulings will be pored over by Maxwell’s lawyers in an effort to convince judges that she made errors during the trial
Judge Nathan told jurors that her order to sit everyday was not meant to put pressure on them.
Howard Greenberg, a veteran defence lawyer, said that to a jury: ‘”I’m not trying to pressure you”, means exactly that. It’s like when people tell you it’s not about the money.’
Egter, Greenberg told The Times that Maxwell’s lawyers were likely to ‘charge a fortune’ for an appeal that would not be successful.
He suggested Maxwell’s best move would be to ‘drop a dime on all of Epstein’s friends,’ suggesting she bargain with prosecutors to provide information in exchange for reduced jail time.
‘That means you have got to give up every single thing you have ever done,’ hy het gesê.
Greenberg told The Times that prosecutors would only offer a deal to Maxwell if they were convinced they could bring a new case based on her evidence.
Maxwell, wat gedraai het 60 op Kersdag, has been placed on suicide watch after being convicted on five counts on the six she faced for procuring teenage girls for the pedophile financier Epstein. Epstein was found hanged in his prison cell in 2019.
Maxwell is facing up to 65 jare agter tralies.
The appeal, which could take as long as two years, will not delay Maxwell’s sentencing – a date for which has not yet been set down.
‘Every single criminal defendant who gets convicted at trial in the United States has a right to appeal and nearly all of them do appeal,’ said Elie Honig, a former state and federal prosecutor who teaches at Rutgers University.
She told The Times it was was rare ‘to see a conviction by a jury at trial be reversed’.
Maxwell’s lawyers will pore over the trial transcripts and forensically examine each ruling by the judge.
‘I don’t see any glaring legal issue that would worry me if I were a prosecutor here,’ Honig added.
As well as the issue of the judge forcing the jury to sit through the holiday, other points of contention include allowing the testimony of Annie Farmer to count towards the charges that Maxwell conspired to entice and transport teenagers in New York, waar die ouderdom van toestemming is 17.
Annie Farmer testified she was brought to Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico aged 16 where Maxwell gave her a topless massage.
Maxwell’s lawyers argued that because the age of consent in New Mexico was 16 op daardie stadium, this was not illegal.
They also tried to throw out evidence from another witness, Carolyn, from counting towards conspiracy charges because she was never brought to New York.
Judge Nathan overruled the objection, saying that in a conspiracy charge the objective did not have to be achieved, it was only necessary to prove that Maxwell and Epstein planned to transport the victim.
Ghislaine Maxwell is facing 65 years in jail for recruiting and trafficking underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein after a jury found her guilty on five of six counts. A courtroom sketch shows Maxwell sitting as the guilty verdict in her sex abuse trial is read in New York
A sleazy haul of never-before-seen photos unearthed in an FBI raid and introduced as evidence showed Ghislaine Maxwell giving Jeffrey Epstein foot rubs on his private jet dubbed Lolita Express
One of the pictures brought in as evidence showed Epstein and Maxwell relaxing at Balmoral, the Scottish home of Queen Elizabeth. Her son, Prins Andrew, is one of the men who was said to have flown on Epstein’s plane
Maxwell, 60, was found guilty of five of six counts of sex trafficking minors for Epstein and now faces a maximum sentence of 65 jare tronkstraf. Epstein and Maxwell in a vacation picture in Europe
Carolyn, one of Ghislaine Maxwell’s accusers, claimed she had seen a picture of her nude and pregnant. Though that picture was never introduced as evidence, another of Epstein cradling Maxwell’s belly was
‘You don’t have to have the violation of New York law to establish the elements of the conspiracy,’ sy het gese.
Later during deliberations, the jury sent a note asking the judge if they could convict Maxwell on a charge of transporting a witness referred to as ‘Jane’ if they were sure that Maxwell helped to arrange her flight home but not the flight to New Mexico where the abuse had taken place.
The defence said the answer should be ‘no.’ But the judge said this was ‘not legally accurate.’
Daarbenewens, Maxwell’s lawyers could object to how Judge Nathan brusquely handled their request for the US Marshals to force one witness to attend court, a request they ultimately dropped.
Other issues which could be raised on appeal include how Judge Nathan handled a question from the panel about count four – transportation of an individual under the age of 17 with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity – on which Maxwell was convicted.
Maxwell’s lawyers are likely to raise concerns about a jury note related to the accuser Annie Farmer and counts one and three, on which they also found Maxwell guilty.
Fourthly, Maxwell’s lawyers could object to how Judge Nathan brusquely handled their request for the US Marshals to force one witness to attend court, a request they ultimately dropped.
Maxwell has yet to formally file her appeal but outside the federal court in New York, her lawyer Sternheim said they would be doing so.
In 'n verklaring, Maxwell’s family said she would be ‘ultimately vindicated’ despite the jury convicting her of five of the six charges.
Other high profile sex crimes cases do give Maxwell some hope, most notably that of Bill Cosby.
In 2018 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 jare vroeër.
Cosby’s conviction was overturned on appeal in June after the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled that his due process rights had been violated because a previous prosecutor agreed not to charge him.
Maxwell has yet to formally file her appeal but outside the federal court in New Year after the verdict, her lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said they would be doing so
Maxwell’s defense team Jeffery Pagliuca and Laura Menninger are seen leaving court in New York after yesterday’s verdicts
Maxwell suffered a setback Tuesday after Judge Nathan rejected her defense team’s request to give the jury additional instructions on one of the counts related to transporting accuser ‘Jane’. They will likely use this as grounds for appeal
Harvey Weinstein is currently appealing his 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault that was handed down in March last year. Bill Cosby’s conviction was overturned on appeal in June after the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled that his due process rights had been violated because a previous prosecutor agreed not to charge him
Harvey Weinstein is currently appealing his 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault that was handed down in March last year.
During an appeal court hearing in New York earlier this month, judges asked whether lining up three Weinstein accusers as bad character witnesses was ‘overkill’ – a decision is due in Spring 2022.
Judge Nathan’s handling of the jury instructions about the coronavirus will undoubtedly feature highly in Maxwell’s appeal.
On day 16 Judge Nathan discussed instructing the jury to sit until 6pm instead of 5pm because of the risk one of them may become infected.
Maxwell’s lawyer Laura Menninger strongly objected.
Sy het aan die hof gesê: ‘Because it has only been three days, we believe that any suggestion that they should stay later is beginning to sound like urging them to hurry up, when clearly they know that they can deliberate as long as they want and they should be able to deliberate as long as they want’.
Menninger noted that the previous week Judge Nathan had offered the jury an extra day to deliberate but they declined it, stating in a note they had ‘made plans’ for the Christmas break.
Judge Nathan did instruct the jury they could stay until 6pm or longer but added that there was no ‘pressure’ and they should take as long as they wanted.
The next day Judge Nathan’s mood darkened and she said that the longer hours were necessary because ‘we are seeing an astronomical spike in the number of Covid positive cases in New York’.
Judge Nathan added that ‘we are facing a high and escalating risk that the jurors or participants (such as Maxwell) may need to quarantine, putting at risk our ability to complete this trial’.
At the end of the day the jury sent a note saying they were ‘making progress’.
Op Woensdag, the morning of what turned out to be the final day of deliberations, the jury asked for clarification of their schedule for the week.
Judge Nathan told them that she would compel them to sit every day that week until they reached a verdict: previously they were told they would sit only Monday to Wednesday.
That would include New Year’s Eve on the Friday and New Year’s Day on the Saturday, as well as Sunday if necessary.
After appeals from Maxwell’s lawyers, the judge added the same qualifier as before: 'Natuurlik, by this I don’t mean to pressure you in any way. You should take all the time that you need’.
At the end of that very day, the jury came back with their verdict.
Another source of contention which could feature in the appeal was when Maxwell’s lawyers repeatedly argued with Judge Nathan on day 16 of the trial over a note from the jury about count four, which related to the accuser Jane.
The count was transportation of an individual under the age of 17 with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity.
Maxwell was found guilty and faces up to 10 years in jail for this count.
Maxwell’s siblings Kevin, Christine and Isabel walked out of court in New York yesterday and declined to speak to reporters. In 'n verklaring, Maxwell’s family said she would be ‘ultimately vindicated’ despite the jury convicting her of five of the six charges
The prosecution brought in pictures found in Epstein’s mansion in a bid to show that Maxwell and Epstein had been in a relationship
The note read: ‘If the defendant aided in the transportation of Jane’s return flight, but not the flight to New Mexico, where/if the intent was for Jane to engage in sexual activity, can she be found guilty under the second element?’
Prosecutor Alison Moe said they were ‘not able to parse the question because we find it confusing’ so the ‘safest course’ was to refer the jury to the instructions.
Maxwell’s lawyer Christian Everdell said that the ‘significant purpose’ of the trip was not that ‘Jane engaged in illicit sexual activity’ as required by the law.
In this case she was ‘just presumably going home, but is not for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual activity’, Everdell said.
Judge Nathan said that the note was ‘ambiguous’ and told the court: ‘I don’t know what the question means, it’s too difficult to parse factually and legally’.
As a result she referred the jury to her instructions without further comment.
The following day Maxwell’s lawyers tried again to change the judge’s mind with a seven page letter filed to the court which said her decision was ‘incorrect and prejudicial to Ms. Maxwell’
They said that the jury were ‘confused’ about not just count four but count two as well and requested an additional, three paragraph instruction to clarify.
Judge Nathan rejected the request to address count two as the jury didn’t ask about it.
She told Everdell that he was seeking a ‘third bite of the apple’ and dismissed his letter as ‘just wrong’ as she stood by her original decision.
Another note on day 14 of the trial sparked intense argument from Maxwell’s lawyers and could form the basis of an appeal.
The jury asked if they could consider the accuser Annie Farmer’s testimony for the counts of conspiracy to entice and transport a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
Maxwell is facing five years on jail on each count.
Judge Nathan said she would tell the jury: ‘The answer is yes, you may consider it’.
Everdell said he was worried that the jury might use Farmer’s testimony ‘more broadly’ than they should.
He wanted to remind the jury that Farmer’s allegations were not ‘illegal sexual conduct’ as charged in the indictment.
Op die foto: The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) where Ghislaine Maxwell is being held and has been since her arrest in July 2020
Judge Nathan rejected the argument and said it would be ‘nonresponsive to their question’.
In their appeal Maxwell’s lawyers may well raise Judge Nathan’s handling of their problems calling defense witnesses.
Judge Nathan was blunt with Maxwell’s attorneys when they asked for help from the US Marshals to compel one female witness, Kelly Bovino, to come to court.
The judge sounded exasperated at the prospect of a delay in the trial especially as the defense knew two weeks ago that Bovino was not replying to their subpoena.
Sy het gese: ‘We’re not delaying trial, so this all needs to happen yesterday’.
During a testy exchange with Menninger Judge Nathan said that a ‘nonresponsive witness is not a little thing’.
A desperate-sounding Menninger replied: ‘We’ve been flying people across the country, across the pond.
‘Our client’s life is on the line and we’re being given one day to put on a defense, one and a half days, and there is one witness that we’re having problems with. We’re not asking for some weeks’ long delay’.
In the end Maxwell’s lawyer withdrew their request to engage the US Marshals, but on appeal this may well be raised to try and overturn the conviction.