Ghislaine Maxwell’s attorneys slammed federal prosecutors for filing new charges against the disgraced socialite about three months before her trial is slated to begin, writing in a letter the move is “obvious tactical gamesmanship.”
On Monday, Manhattan federal prosecutors slapped the accused madam with two new sex trafficking charges in a superseding indictment based on a new victim’s allegations that Maxwell sold her to Jeffrey Epstein when she was 14 years old.
Late Wednesday, Maxwell’s attorneys griped about the new charges in a letter to US District Judge Alison Nathan. They said the new raps “drastically change the focus of this case”— and argued bringing charges based on evidence that has long been in the government’s possession “is shocking, unfair, and an abuse of power.”
“Counsel have not yet determined whether to formally move for a continuance. This decision is not an easy one. Ms. Maxwell and her lawyers have been diligently preparing for trial,” the letter states.
“However, the government’s continued refusal to provide the most basic discovery – names of accusers – coupled with what amounts to a new indictment (after what was supposed to be the close of discovery and the resolution of very complicated legal issues) has effectively prevented trial preparation from moving forward in an orderly manner,” the letter reads.
“Accordingly, we have requested an opportunity to confer with government counsel with the goal of clarifying the necessity of moving the trial date.”
Maxwell’s attorneys further said the “late-breaking filing” is impacting the accused sex trafficker’s constitutional rights.
“The Court is aware of the extraordinary circumstances of Ms. Maxwell’s detention, its deleterious effect on her health and well-being, and the realistic concern whether she will be strong enough to withstand the stress of trial,” the attorneys wrote.
Citing transcripts from previous hearings, the attorneys said they were under the impression that no superseding indictment would be filed and therefore, made arrangements for a July 12 trial date, which now may not be possible.
“The timing suggests that the decision to supersede was prompted by the filing of defense pretrial motions and government concern about the now-apparent weakness of its case. The government may be entitled to supersede but not when its decision disrupts the schedule set by the Court and relied on by Ms. Maxwell,” the letter reads.
“This delay has a prejudicial effect on counsel’s readiness for trial and Ms. Maxwell’s prolonged detention.”
The attorneys once again prodded Nathan to release Maxwell to home confinement, a request they’ve made now four times after steady rejections.
“Ms. Maxwell is entitled to a fair trial with effective assistance of counsel. If counsel feel that additional time is required to guarantee those constitutional rights, Ms. Maxwell will suffer the consequence by her continued detention. The Court has the power – and, indeed, the discretion – to accommodate this constitutional clash. Granting a continuance and releasing Ms. Maxwell on the most restrictive conditions of home detention,” the attorneys wrote.
“Surely, the Court can impose conditions that ‘clip her wings’; and satisfy perceived flight concerns without keeping Ms. Maxwell locked in a BOP cage.”
Maxwell’s lawyers reiterated their request for an in-person arraignment and want witnesses to testify at her bail hearing, “regarding the purported strength of the government’s case.”
Prosecutors have not yet filed a response.
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