Prince Andrew’s former pal Ghislaine Maxwell appeals

New York: Britain’s Prince Andrew’s former friend Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to overturn her conviction and 20-year sentence for helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse girls, US media reported.

The 61-year-old British socialite was convicted in December 2021 of recruiting and grooming young girls to be sexually abused by Epstein.

The American financier killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting his own trial. Maxwell, his lover turned close friend, was arrested the following year.

In a filing late Tuesday with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan, Maxwell´s lawyers argued she was denied a fair trial and used as a scapegoat because Epstein evaded justice.

“The government prosecuted Ms Maxwell as a proxy for Jeffrey Epstein. It did so to satisfy public outrage over an unpopular non-prosecution agreement and the death of the person responsible for the crimes,” defense attorney Arthur Aidala said in a statement quoted by ABC News.

Maxwell´s lawyers argued that she was covered by a 2007 non-prosecution agreement between federal prosecutors in Florida and Epstein, which included a provision not to prosecute potential co-conspirators.

Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages, but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal.

Maxwell´s lawyers also argued that prosecutors had waited too long to charge her and had violated the statute of limitations.

The appeal also said trial judge Alison Nathan had last year wrongfully rejected a request by Maxwell for a new trial.

Maxwell, the Oxford-educated daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in June last year.

Meanwhile, according to BBC, Prince Andrew had denied being a close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell, in a legal response to Virginia Giuffre who had sued him in the US for sexual assault. (Web Desk/AFP)