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The People v. Ghislaine Maxwell

What happens when the main suspect of a prosecution kills himself before he can go to trial? The state will find the next culpable person and nail them to the wall. In terms of Jeffrey Epstein, that person is Ghislaine Maxwell. Epstein was accused of running a criminal scheme targeting underage girls for sexual abuse. Epstein would pay the girls for sex, have them tell their friends that he was paying for sex, and the girls would perform sexual favors for Epstein. Maxwell is believed to have helped Epstein organize and hide his activities. The defense claims that they are targeting Maxwell because they no longer have Epstein to convict. While their claim is likely true, it does not mean necessarily that she was not involved in a criminal conspiracy to target underage girls for sexual abuse.

Maxwell is accused of soliciting minors for Epstein during the early ’90s. By the 2000s, Epstein had already employed his pyramid scheme approach which avoided Maxwell’s involvement in recruiting girls to abuse. 

Analyzing the Defense Strategy

The defense set up their case as a sexist attack on the defendant. They contend that she is accused of crimes that were committed by Epstein, and she played no part in those crimes. The second element of their strategy is to attack the four victims who will testify against Maxwell at trial. So, they will claim the whole thing is a sexist attack on Maxwell for crimes committed by Epstein and then discredit the victims who will testify at trial.

The defense claims that the prosecution had filed no charges against Maxwell until after Epstein’s death. Once they lost their defendant, they went to the next best culprit. This happens all the time, is not illegal, and it generally helps the prosecution to take the ringleader down first. This allows the rats to come out of the woodwork to offer testimony for reduced sentences. Maxwell would have likely faced charges regardless of whether or not Epstein stood trial and was convicted. The biggest issue for either defendant is the fact that Epstein maintained an empire based not around money, but dirt. That leaves many in the media speculating about what information Maxwell could provide authorities concerning the sexual abuse of young women and the individuals who flew to Epstein’s pedophile island for leisure. 

The defense claims that the victims saw Epstein and Maxwell as easy targets for a huge payday. When they were contacted by personal injury lawyers, they reframed their stories to include Maxwell. This put the allegations out in the open and spurred prosecutors to act on that information. That is the only reason why Maxwell is facing charges for Epstein’s crimes.

On the other hand, it is hard to believe that Maxwell spent years with Epstein without knowing what he was doing. If she knew what he was doing, then why did she stay with him? If she stayed with him, did she condone his behavior? If she condoned his behavior, did she aid in his efforts? While this may seem like a lot for the prosecutor to prove, the defense must come up with a reasonable and simple explanation as to how Maxwell interacted with Epstein on a daily basis for decades without knowing about his sexual abuse of underage girls. Maxwell’s role is alleged to be that of a groomer who massaged the girls into accepting what was happening to them.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

David Freidberg represents the interests of those who have been accused of crimes in the Chicago area. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and we can begin strategizing your defense immediately. 

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