NEW YORK, July 2 (Reuters) – Ghislaine Maxwell’s attorneys said the waiver of Bill Cosby’s 2018 sexual assault conviction justifies dismissing sex trafficking and other charges arising from her relationship with late financier Jeffrey Epstein surrendered.
Cosby, 83, was released from prison Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said a 2005 prosecutor’s agreement not to charge him with substance abuse and assaulting Temple University employee Andrea Constand meant the actor and comedian a decade later shouldn’t have been charged. Continue reading
In a letter Friday to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan, Maxwell’s attorneys said the British celebrity’s case was similar to Cosby’s because she was vaccinated under Epstein’s 2007 Non-Prosecution Agreement.
They said this supported the dismissal of four counts from Maxwell’s eightfold indictment, which covers alleged crimes from 1994 and 2004, and which could result in 80 years in prison. Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty.
“As in Cosby, the government is trying to break their agreement and prosecute Ms. Maxwell over 25 years later for the exact same offenses for which she was granted immunity,” Maxwell’s lawyers said. “This is inconsistent with the principles of fundamental fairness.”
US Attorney Audrey Strauss’s office in Manhattan declined to comment.
Epstein has reached his agreement with the Florida federal prosecutor to plead guilty to the state prostitution allegations.
Nathan ruled in April that the deal didn’t bind Manhattan attorneys. She also denied Maxwell’s allegation that they were accused co-conspirators like herself.
The 2005 decision not to indict Cosby paved the way for his testimony in a civil lawsuit by Constand that ended in a $ 3.36 million settlement.
The Pennsylvania prosecutors later used Cosby’s incriminating testimony to set up a new criminal case. The Pennsylvania court said it couldn’t and released Cosby after serving more than two years of a possible 10-year prison sentence.
On Wednesday one of Maxwell’s attorneys, David Markus, argued in an opinion piece in the New York Daily News that Cosby’s release warranted ending the charges against Maxwell.
He said it was unfair for prosecutors to use Maxwell’s testimony from a civil lawsuit against her by Epstein prosecutor Virginia Giuffre to build their case and that a jury should reject their “thin and stale charges”.
On Thursday, prosecutors said Markus’ opinion violated a court ruling against attorneys making “extrajudicial statements” that could taint the jury pool, and urged Nathan to comply.
Maxwell attorneys have also accused prosecutors of using unfair tactics to influence potential jurors.
The Maxwell trial could begin in November.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Adaptation by Jonathan Oatis