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Maxwell call to ban comments on Epstein sex case is rejected



Ghislaine Maxwell. Photo: Getty

Ghislaine Maxwell. Photo: Getty

Ghislaine Maxwell. Photo: Getty

The judge presiding over the criminal sex abuse case against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has declined a request by her lawyer to ban public comments by the US government or lawyers for women who claim abuse.

District Judge Alison J Nathan said in a written order she expects anyone involved in the case against Jeffrey Epstein's former girlfriend will exercise "great care" to comply with rules designed to ensure a fair trial, but added no further action was needed to ensure compliance.

Judge Nathan said she "will not hesitate to take appropriate action" to protect a fair trial if circumstances change.

Ms Maxwell's lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuca this week said comments made publicly by a prosecutor, an FBI official and lawyers for accusers were prejudicial toward his client.

The 58-year-old is in a Brooklyn federal jail, awaiting a July 2021 trial in Manhattan federal court, after she was arrested on July 2 at a New Hampshire estate.

Mr Pagliuca told the judge that prejudicial comments included an FBI official's statement at a July 2 news conference that Ms Maxwell was a villain who had "slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire".

Last week, Judge Nathan rejected her bail request after prosecutors argued she was a high risk to flee because 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.

The request on Ms Maxwell's behalf was made on Tuesday, the same day that President Donald Trump twice wished her well as he acknowledged that he had met Ms Maxwell "numerous times" when they both lived in Palm Beach, Florida.

She has pleaded not guilty to charges that she procured three teenage girls, including a 14-year-old, for 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.

Ms Maxwell's lawyers have said she "vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence".

Epstein had a wide circle of friends including the Prince Andrew, Mr Trump and former US president Bill Clinton.

Prince Andrew, who denies any wrongdoing, has since been urged to provide information to the investigation by a US authorities' lawyer.

Irish Independent