Ghislaine Maxwell lost her bid to exclude a psychologist who specializes in treating sexual abuse victims from testifying at her sex-trafficking trial.
Psychologist Lisa Rocchio was called in by prosecutors as a witness during a pretrial hearing in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday.
Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she had groomed underage girls for her late boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.
The trial is set to begin on November 29 with jury selection currently underway.
Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, lost her bid to exclude a psychologist from her upcoming trial that specializes in treating sexual abuse victims
Psychologist Lisa Rocchio was called in by prosecutors as a witness to the trial on November 29
During the hearing, Rocchio said adolescents were particularly likely to disclose sexual abuse later in life.
She said false allegations of sexual abuse can occur, but that they represent a ‘very small minority’ of accusations.
Lawyers for the British socialite had said Rocchio’s opinions are inadmissible, arguing they were based mainly on her personal experience as a practitioner and lacked scientific backing.
One of Maxwell’s attorneys, Jeffrey Pagliuca, said the defense intends to question the credibility of witnesses based on any prior histories of substance abuse or failures to disclose their accusations against Maxwell promptly.
Following questioning, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan said she would largely allow Rocchio’s testimony, in a blow to Maxwell’s defense.
Assistant US attorney Lara Pomerantz questions Lisa Rocchio during a hearing to discuss which expert witnesses will be able to testify at Maxwell’s upcoming trial
Lisa Rocchio sits in the witness box as she is questioned by Pomerantz
Maxwell is escorted into the courtroom by US marshalls during her hearing
Maxwell had allegedly proposed calling in psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, 77, for her trial as a witness to play the ‘false memory card.’
Loftus, a psychology professor and writer, had previously represented big-name celebrities in former trials such as Harvey Weinstein, Ted Bundy and OJ Simpson.
She has spent years researching the malleability of human memory and often claims in court that memories are wrong or distorted.
‘The world is full of people who support accusers,’ Loftus said in a 2020 interview with the Los Angeles Times.
‘I think people who are accused deserve some modicum of support as well.’
The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn where Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged accomplice of the late financier, is awaiting trial
Maxwell was also denied bail for the fourth time by Nathan on Tuesday, saying her ‘ability to flee’ made it impossible to allow her to await trial at home rather than a detention center.
The two-page order, which rejected Maxwell’s request, added that she would be transported from her cell at the Manhattan Detention Center to the trial ‘in a way that is humane (and) proper.’
Maxwell’s legal team also rehashed claims about her alleged mistreatment behind bars (Maxwell pictured earlier this year with ‘a black eye’)
Her family claimed last week that she was experiencing physical abuse at the hands of her guards
Her brother Ian Maxwell told interviewers that he thinks his sister has experienced ‘physical abuse at the hands of her guards.’
‘I don’t see Ghislaine administering a black eye to herself,’ he told Sky News. ‘I think she has suffered some occasional physical abuse at the hands of her guards.’
He also said his sister’s applications for pre-trial release have been constantly denied, despite her losing 15 pounds and incarceration making it harder for her to prepare a defense.
‘It’s designed to break her,’ he told Sky News. ‘That is just unjust. It’s a fundamental abuse of human rights. And I find that quite shocking.’
She also claimed recently that during a hearing this week, a guard waited until he was alone with her and became ‘verbally threatening’.
The guard allegedly said: ‘You think you are special? You are not special. Remember you are in custody and the judge doesn’t care about you.’
Maxwell’s former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, 66, died by suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019
Her lawyer claimed that her ‘disturbing’ treatment meant she should be released immediately.
Maxwell is charged with three counts of conspiracy-related charges including, enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
She faces up to 80 years if convicted of the charges, which she has consistently denied.
Her late boyfriend Epstein, who counted former President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew among his associates, died by suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 at the age of 66 while awaiting his own trial on sex crimes charges.