Following the conviction of British former socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in her sex-trafficking trial, suspicion is increasing that she may try to make a deal and become a government witness in any larger probe of her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein’s exclusive social circle.
When it comes to individuals who may have been complicit in Epstein’s misdeeds, Maxwell would be hoping for a lower punishment by citing influential names.
However, defense attorneys and sexual-crime prosecutors have questioned the government’s willingness to negotiate. They wonder if Maxwell has any crucial information that the government doesn’t already know, and if this is a failed technique Maxwell has tried in the past.
“It all depends on who she’d be collaborating against and what she has to give,” said Jeffrey Lichtman, the defense attorney who defended Mexican drug lord Joaqun “El Chapo” Guzmán during his trial two years ago. “I wouldn’t be shocked if she had previously tried and failed to comply.”
Maxwell was found guilty on five of six charges for her role in Epstein’s sexual abuse of adolescent females, and she is expected to appeal her verdict. Maxwell “preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually assaulted,” according to prosecutors. She is anticipated to serve a lengthy jail sentence.
According to Lichtman, some defendants are so awful in the opinion of the government that it refuses to negotiate a plea agreement in exchange for testimony. “They don’t want to take someone’s hand in a criminal organization and allow them to work with individuals who are far beneath them.”
“That may be the situation here – they just don’t want her to comply because she’s so awful,” Lichtman said.
But it doesn’t mean Maxwell and her attorneys can’t make a counter-offer. “She has a wealth of information about a number of highly important persons.” She could be more willing to talk now that she’s been convicted. “She should, in my opinion,” Lichtman said, “since a lot of people skated here while she faced the brunt of the government’s full anger.”
“Maxwell’s assistance is not particularly likely, but it is possible,” former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig stated on Twitter. You’d need (1) Maxwell to be willing and totally on board, (2) SDNY to be completely convinced of her honesty, and (3) a feasible strategy to employ her knowledge instead of others.”
The statute of limitations on criminal and civil sexual offense allegations would be one roadblock to any state prosecution based on Maxwell’s assistance. Virginia Giuffre’s legal action against Prince Andrew of the United Kingdom exists only because of a short-lived loophole in the New York Child Victims Act, which permitted accusers to sue beyond the statute of limitations.
However, there is mounting pressure for high-profile visitors to Epstein’s properties in New York, Palm Beach, and the US Virgin Islands to be held accountable for any potential crimes, especially since the government’s case against Maxwell seemed to avoid mentioning broader aspects of the conspiracy.
“Ninety percent of the persons allegedly linked with Epstein never made it into the government’s case,” stated Lichtman. “Perhaps they were attempting to prevent any jury bias – that the bold-face names would distract them – yet many individuals didn’t get prosecuted here when it appeared that they should have,” he noted.
The government’s plan, according to Wendy Murphy, a veteran federal sex crimes prosecutor who now teaches at Boston Law, was to keep Epstein out of Maxwell’s conspiracy trial. She stated, “They didn’t need any more evidence to show conspiracy.” “They didn’t have to go overboard. The victims’ testimony had certain flaws, but they were more than compensated for by other evidence.”
According to Murphy, the legal lawsuit against Prince Andrew will likely be the next chapter in the Epstein case.
“Prince Andrew may be the next and only shoe to drop,” she speculated. For the most part, litigation have closed their doors, and I’m not aware of any new ones that may uncover information.”
However, if additional investigations are conducted, Murphy believes Maxwell may be eligible for a reduction in her sentence if the government requests crucial information she has.
“I’m not sure what the feds are looking for, and I’m not sure she’ll provide.” She’ll probably stay silent, and they won’t need her to because they already have a lot of information. They’re not going to offer her a discount if they don’t need anything.”
Ultimately, according to Bennett Gershman, a law professor at Pace University in New York, whether the government believes there is political benefit in continuing the investigation and identifying high-profile people who may have been involved in the scheme depends on whether the government believes there is political benefit in continuing the investigation and identifying high-profile people who may have been involved in the scheme.
“It’s difficult to predict what the government will be interested in in the future.” That is something we are unable to respond to. Are the victims and others who care about this issue content now that Maxwell has been found guilty, or do they wish to see additional members of the bigger network investigated?”
“Does this case call out for additional inquiry and prosecution? They have limited resources and manpower,” he noted. The US Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office made a political judgment.”