If notorious killer Charles Manson can get a fair trial then so can Ghislaine Maxwell, lawyers for her accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre have said.
Giuffre’s lawyers rejected Maxwell’s claim that releasing a trove of documents from their 2016 lawsuit would lead to a storm of negative publicity and prejudice her trial.
Maxwell last month pleaded with judges not to ‘let the cat out of the bag’ by unsealing the documents, after she denied charges of helping Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and abuse young girls.
But Giuffre’s lawyers wrote in a Wednesday court filing: ‘Other high-profile cases where courts successfully managed extensive pretrial publicity – and rejected defendants’ arguments that it compromised their right to a fair trial – include the trials of al-Qaeda affiliate Khalid al-Fawwaz, labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa and murderer and cult leader Charles Manson.’
Quoting from a ruling in the Manson case which ended with the killer being sentenced to life in prison in 1972, Giuffre’s lawyers said that massive pre-trial publicity ‘does not automatically translate into prejudice’.
Ghislaine Maxwell (pictured in a court sketch during a July 14 hearing) is battling to block the release of documents from her 2016 lawsuit against Virginia Roberts Giuffre
Maxwell’s deposition was taken in April 2016 for a now-settled defamation case brought by Giuffre, who alleges that Epstein kept her as a ‘sex slave’ with Maxwell’s assistance.
A US district judge ordered the deposition to be released earlier this year, and some of the documents were published on July 30.
They included emails between Epstein and Maxwell, who were identified respectively as ‘jeffrey E’ and either ‘Gmax’ or ‘G Maxwell.’
Other unsealed materials included emails from Giuffre to the FBI in 2014, in which she expressed an interest in pursuing a case against Epstein.
But other documents remain hidden after Maxwell filed an emergency motion to block their release – and her lawyers are now seeking to overturn the lower court’s decision.
Opposing Maxwell’s motion, Giuffre’s lawyers said in a 51-page filing that there was no basis for her ‘speculative’ fear that bad publicity would prejudice the jury.
Cases where negative coverage has mattered ‘have typically occurred in small communities, and not in large cities such as New York’,’ they say.
Maxwell’s case was compared by lawyers to that of notorious cult leader and killer Charles Manson (pictured in prison months before he died in 2017)
‘The size and heterogeneity of such communities make it unlikely that even the most sensational case will become a cause celebre where the whole community becomes interested in all the morbid details,’ lawyers Sigrid McCawley and David Boies said.
‘Maxwell’s vague argument about privacy interests cannot justify total closure of the deposition materials,’ they said.
Invoking the Manson case, they told the Manhattan appeals court that ‘the fact that a case receives enormous publicity does not by itself establish error’.
Manson was found guilty in 1969 of ordering his followers to carry out seven murders in one of the 20th century’s most notorious crime sprees.
Manson was sentenced to death but this was commuted to life in prison after California abolished capital punishment in 1972. He died in 2017.
The lawyers also pointed to the case of Khalid al-Fawwaz, who was sentenced to life in prison five years ago in connection with the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
Prosecutors said he was Osama bin Laden’s ‘bridge to the West’, disseminating the terror leader’s violent messages in London.
Giuffre has been one of Epstein’s most visible accusers, and her lawyers have said the public has a right to see Maxwell’s deposition.
Maxwell has said her deposition contained ‘intimate, sensitive, and personal information,’ and whose release would cause irreversible, negative publicity.
Her lawyers say this would undermine her constitutional rights to remain silent and obtain a fair trial by an impartial jury.
Giuffre (pictured) has been one of Epstein’s most visible accusers, and her lawyers have said the public has a right to see Maxwell’s deposition
Maxwell, 58, has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and eventually abuse three girls from 1994 to 1997.
She also denies committing perjury by denying her involvement with the late financier under oath.
Her trial is scheduled for next July. She was arrested in New Hampshire on July 2 and is being held in a Brooklyn jail after a judge deemed she was a flight risk.
A grand jury returned a sealed, six-count indictment against Maxwell on June 29, almost a year after Epstein was charged.
It alleges that Maxwell groomed three unnamed girls, all under the age of 18, in London, New York, Florida and New Mexico between 1994 and 1997.
She is accused of having befriended them by taking them to the movies or on shopping sprees and ‘normalized’ abusive behavior by getting undressed in front of them.
Maxwell’s lawyers have tried to distance their client from Epstein, saying she’d had no contact with him for more than a decade.
Epstein killed himself at age 66 in August 2019 at a federal jail in Manhattan while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
He had previously pleaded guilty in 2008 to a Florida state prostitution charge, and completed a 13-month jail sentence now widely considered too lenient.
Before Epstein’s conviction, he and Maxwell had a network of powerful friends including Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.
Giuffre claims that she had sex with Andrew in the early 2000s. He denies this.