Bill Cosby’s release from prison has given hope to lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell that her sex trafficking charges might also be thrown out, a newspaper has reported.
Cosby was released from jail on Wednesday after three years of a three to 10-year sentence for sex assault. A judge in Pennsylvania overturned his conviction based on an earlier non-prosecution agreement with the 83-year-old.
Now, Maxwell’s lawyer David Oscar Markus says the same principle should be applied to his client, who is charged with procuring teenage girls for her former partner Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.
Mr Markus told The Daily Telegraph the British socialite should be freed due to a 2007 plea deal struck with Epstein. That agreement allowed Epstein to avoid prosecution on federal sex-trafficking charges if he pleaded guilty to lesser state crimes, and shielded his alleged co-conspirators from prosecution, the paper said.
“I am hopeful that the Maxwell judge will reconsider her decision in light of the Cosby opinion,” Mr Markus told the Telegraph.
“If not, then there will be a trial and hopefully an appeal won’t be necessary as the case is so weak. But if so, then this will be a primary issue for us.”
Federal prosecutors have said Epstein’s plea deal does not apply to Maxwell as it was negotiated in Florida and not the Southern District of New York, where she has been charged.
Prosecutors have also maintained that because Maxwell was not involved with negotiations around the deal, she cannot enforce its provisions.
Mr Markus argued their reasoning “makes no sense”, saying: “We have one federal government, and the agreement says clearly that the United States would not prosecute Maxwell.”
Maxwell (59) has pleaded not guilty to six counts including sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy. Her trial is scheduled for November.