GHISLAINE Maxwell’s alleged victims will not be gagged from speaking about the case, a judge has ruled.
Lawyers for the 58-year-old socialite had claimed allowing victim’s lawyers to discuss the case would harm her chances of a fair trial.
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U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan said in a written order that she expects anyone involved in the case against Maxwell will exercise “great care” to comply with rules designed to ensure a fair trial.
But she added that no further action was needed now to ensure compliance.
Nathan said she “will not hesitate to take appropriate action” to protect a fair trial if circumstances change.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges that she procured three teenage girls, including a 14-year-old, for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse in the 1990s.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan federal jail last August as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.
Earlier this week, Maxwell’s lawyers filed a letter complaining to Nathan about “prejudicial statements” made about the case.
The letter read: “The Government, its agents, witnesses and their lawyers have made, and continue to make, statements prejudicial to a fair trial.”
Maxwell’s lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuca claims the attorneys of the alleged victims have made “presumptively prejudicial statements” while talking to the media.
In numerous news programmes and documentaries, Epstein’s accusers and their legal representatives have claimed Maxwell procured and groomed them for her former lover – claims she denies.
Pagliuca urged the judge to impose a gag order, punishable by contempt, “to prevent further unwarranted and prejudicial pretrial publicity.”
The letter cites comments made publicly following her July 2 arrest during a news conference by Audrey Strauss, the Acting US Attorney in Manhattan, and by William Sweeney, New York’s Assistant Director of the FBI.
Mr Sweeney infamously branded Maxwell “one of the villains in this investigation” while saying she had “slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire”.
In his letter Pagliuca said “the Government” staged “a media presentation that included numerous statements that prejudice Ms. Maxwell’s right to a fair trial”.
Directly referencing those remarks, Pagliuca wrote: “Mr Sweeney offers the Government’s, again flatly wrong, opinions about character and guilt, while at the same time, invoking a semi-biblical reference involving a snake slithering away to a garden in New Hampshire.
Last week, Nathan rejected Maxwell’s bail request after prosecutors argued she was a high risk to flee
The judge said evidence against her was strong and she had access to millions of dollars and connections worldwide along with citizenship in the United States, the United Kingdom and France.