One Word Allowed at Trial Is Bad News for Ghislaine Maxwell

Judge OKs use of word 'victim'; meanwhile, prosecutors say she wasn't offered plea deal
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2021 6:49 AM CDT
Maxwell's Day in Court: 'I Have Not Committed Any Crime'
In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell, center, listens during a court hearing flanked by her attorneys on Monday in New York.   (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

Ghislaine Maxwell shuffled into a pretrial hearing in Manhattan on Monday, and she had just one thing to say to the court: "I have not committed any crime." Prosecutors, however, had much more to say regarding Jeffrey Epstein's associate, including that she hasn't requested a plea deal for her sex trafficking case, and that they haven't offered her one. The 59-year-old confirmed this to US District Judge Alison J. Nathan, who presided over what the Daily Beast says was a "lengthy" hearing regarding witness testimony and what can be presented as evidence to the jury at her trial, such as an alleged "little black book" of famous names and addresses.

CNBC notes that Maxwell also lost other big rulings at Monday's hearing, including her defense team's request that they be allowed to mention during her trial that charges were only brought against her because of the intense media coverage, especially after Epstein died by suicide in August 2019. In addition, Nathan ruled that defense attorneys can't offer evidence or testimony suggesting Maxwell had won civil litigation with victims in the past, as Nathan noted the litigation had been voluntarily dismissed after a settlement, before any official judgment could be rendered.

One especially big loss for Maxwell, however, regarded terminology allowed to be used at the trial—specifically, the word "victim," per the Guardian. Maxwell's team had requested that term not be allowed, but Nathan, in her ruling, said, "Precluding the word is both unnecessary and impractical." Nathan also determined the word "minor" was permissible, and that Maxwell's accusers can remain anonymous, with their full names available only to the jurors.

As for Maxwell herself, CNN notes she entered the hearing wearing shackles on her hands and feet, as well as a baggy blue jumpsuit and large reading glasses, her hair now down to her shoulders. At one point, she "smiled and blew a kiss over her mask to her sister, who returned the gesture." More hearings are scheduled throughout this month. Opening arguments in her trial are set to begin Nov. 29. (For more, check out this investigative piece on the women who allegedly helped Epstein.)

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