One of the four accusers in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking trial could potentially be excluded from the case after the woman could not remember if she was over the age of consent when she was allegedly groomed by the British socialite for pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
In a series of motions filed by Maxwell’s legal team ahead of a pretrial hearing last week, defense attorneys asked the court to exclude evidence from ‘Minor Victim 3’ because she had ‘not alleged any illegal conduct whatsoever.’
Judge Alison Nathan noted that the age of consent in the UK is 16 and that the woman could not recall if she was 17 or 18 when Epstein asked her to travel with him.
The inconsistencies could mean that the accuser’s claims may not be used for the three conspiracy counts against Maxwell, the judge ruled.
As a result, prosecutors were asked to ‘provide its position as to whether “alleged Victim-3” could be considered a “victim” of the crimes charged in the indictment for any legal purpose,’ according to court filings.
They were presented with a potential legal setback over the weekend after Nathan said she was not satisfied with their letter opposing Maxwell’s motion to exclude evidence.
In a court order filed in New York on Saturday, Nathan wrote that the prosecution’s submitted letter did ‘not address this issue.’
Ghislaine Maxwell appeared at a pretrial hearing in federal court last Monday (pictured) where Judge Alison Nathan asked prosecutors to explain if one of the British socialite’s accusers could be used ‘for any legal purpose’ in the case
In a court order filed in New York on Saturday, Nathan ruled the prosecution’s submitted letter ‘does not address this issue
The ruling raises the prospect that testimony from Minor Victim 3, who was allegedly groomed for pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in London when she was 16, could potentially end up excluded from the trial.
It comes just days after jury selection kicked off, with opening statements due to take place on November 29.
Such a development so close to the start of the trial could also be a significant boost to Maxwell.
The British socialite, 59, denies recruiting and trafficking underage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 1997.
There are four accusers mentioned in the indictment, identified only as Minor Victims 1-4.
Minor Victim 3 is understood to be British. Her identity has not been publicly revealed.
‘At the November 1, 2021 conference, the Court asked the Government to provide its position as to whether Alleged ‘Victim-3’ could be considered a ‘victim’ of the crimes charged in the indictment for any legal purpose,’ Judge Nathan wrote in the filing.
‘The Government’s supplemental letter does not address this issue,’ she added.
The judge acknowledged that the court’s request ‘may have been unclear’ before giving prosecutors another chance to file a supplemental letter responsive ‘on or before’ 12pm Sunday
Maxwell, 59, who is accused of procuring underage girls for pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, has pleaded not guilty to all charges
Nathan acknowledged that the court’s request ‘may have been unclear’ before giving prosecutors another chance to file a supplemental letter responsive to the question ‘on or before’ 12pm Sunday.
During the hearing last Monday, Judge Nathan noted that the age of consent in the UK is 16 and that the woman could not remember if she was 17 or 18 when Epstein asked her to travel with him.
As a result the victim’s evidence could not be used for counts 1 through 3 related to a conspiracy, the judge ruled.
The counts are: conspiracy to entice 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.
Maxwell’s legal team also rehashed claims about her alleged mistreatment behind bars. She is shown in prison earlier this year with ‘a black eye’
As the judge saw it, the victim’s evidence could be used to establish whether Maxwell was aware of the ‘sexual nature of the massages,’ performed on Epstein.
It could also be used to discuss Maxwell’s ‘M.O.’, however, the judge now appears to be reconsidering if the woman can be used in any capacity.
The remaining counts are: transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, sex trafficking conspiracy, and sex trafficking of a minor.
Two counts of perjury will be tried separately.
According to the indictment, Maxwell ‘groomed and befriended’ Minor Victim 3 in London between approximately 1994 and 1995 when she knew that the girl was under the age of 18.
The indictment states that Maxwell discussed Minor Victim 3’s ‘life and family’ with her and introduced her to Epstein.
The indictment states: ‘During those interactions, Maxwell encouraged Minor Victim 3 to massage Epstein, knowing that Epstein would engage in sex acts with Minor Victim 3 during those massages.
‘Minor Victim 3 provided Epstein with the requested massages and during those massages, Epstein sexually abused Minor Victim 3.’
A graying and shackled Ghislaine Maxwell appeared at a pretrial hearing at federal court in New York Monday November 1, ahead of jury selection later this month
The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn where Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged accomplice of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, is awaiting trial
Maxwell had previously filed a motion asking for Minor Victim 3’s evidence to be excluded because she had ‘not alleged any illegal conduct whatsoever.’
Her filing stated that the woman was ‘not a minor’ in the UK and that she ‘cannot establish’ whether Maxwell or Epstein sought to ask her to travel while she was underage.
Maxwell’s lawyers said that prosecutors only included the woman’s claims in the indictment because they ‘did not know that she was above the age of consent in the UK’.
The defense has also listed a number of experts that they plan to call to the witness stand, including Elizabeth Loftus, who testified at the Weinstein trial about sex crime victims creating fake memories.
She could also call Park Dient, a forensic psychologist who has previously evaluated the Unabomber, Jeffrey Dahmer and John Hinckley, who shot Ronald Reagan, according to court filings.
Bennett Gershman, one of the top authorities on prosecutorial misconduct, may be called upon too.