NEW YORK, July 2 (Reuters) – Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell have said the overturning of Bill Cosby’s 2018 sexual assault conviction justified dismissing sex trafficking and other charges arising from his relationship with the deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Cosby, 83, was released from prison on Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a 2005 prosecutor’s agreement not to charge him with drugging and assaulting Temple University employee Andrea Constand , meant the actor and comedian shouldn’t have been charged a decade later. Read more
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan on Friday, Maxwell’s attorneys said the British socialite’s case was similar to Cosby’s because she was immunized under the no-prosecution agreement. by Epstein in 2007.
They said it supported dismissing four counts of Maxwell’s indictment, which covers alleged crimes from 1994 and 2004 and could sentence her to 80 years in prison. Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty.
“Like Cosby, the government is trying to reverse its deal and prosecute Ms Maxwell more than 25 years later for the same offenses for which she was granted immunity,” Maxwell’s lawyers said. “This is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental fairness.”
The office of American lawyer Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.
Epstein struck his deal with federal prosecutors in Florida in exchange for a guilty plea to the state’s prostitution charges.
Nathan ruled in April that the deal was not binding on Manhattan prosecutors. She also rejected Maxwell’s claim that she was covering up accused co-conspirators like her.
The 2005 decision not to charge Cosby set the stage for his testimony in a civil trial of Constand, which ended in a settlement of $ 3.36 million.
Pennsylvania prosecutors then used Cosby’s incriminating testimony to construct a new criminal case. The Pennsylvania court said they couldn’t and released Cosby after serving more than two years of a possible 10-year sentence.
One of Maxwell’s attorneys, David Markus, argued in an opinion piece in the New York Daily News on Wednesday that Cosby’s release justified ending the prosecution against Maxwell.
He said it was unfair for prosecutors to use Maxwell’s 2016 testimony in a civil lawsuit against her by Epstein’s accuser Virginia Giuffre to construct their case, and that a jury should dismiss their “fragile and outdated accusations”.
Prosecutors on Thursday said Markus’ opinion violated a court rule prohibiting lawyers from making “out-of-court statements” that could mar the jury roll, and asked Nathan to order him to comply.
Maxwell’s attorneys also accused prosecutors of using unfair tactics to influence potential jurors.
Maxwell’s trial could start in November.
Report by Jonathan Stempel in New York; edited by Jonathan Oatis