The judge in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial is questioning whether one of the teen accusers can testify as a “victim” — because she was not a minor when she was allegedly abused, according to court filings.
The unidentified “accuser-3” had previously alleged that Maxwell had recruited her in London in 1994 to massage pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, knowing he’d force her to have sex, the indictment said.
But the accuser was 17 at the time — a year above the UK’s age of consent of 16, according to a motion to dismiss her testimony filed by Maxwell’s legal team late last month.
She also could not prove that she was underage when she traveled to the US and “allegedly engaged in sex acts with Epstein,” the filing insisted.
“There is no evidence that she was a ‘minor’ when any of the alleged sex acts took place,” insisted attorneys for Maxwell.
If true, that means that “any sex acts that occurred were lawful,” Maxwell’s attorneys insisted in the Oct. 29 filing — despite conceding the accuser insisted she was sexually abused by the late pedophile.
Maxwell’s team is seeking to completely dismiss her evidence, or at least bar any suggestion that she was a “minor” who suffered “sexual abuse.”
Judge Alison Nathan last Wednesday “asked the Government to provide its position as to whether alleged ‘Victim-3’ could be considered a ‘victim’ of the crimes charged in the indictment for any legal purpose.”
The prosecution’s response “does not address this issue,” Nathan wrote in an update.
“While acknowledging that the Court’s request may have been unclear, the Government is now ORDERED to file a supplemental letter responsive to the Court’s question,” she wrote.
“For the sake of clarity, the Government is directed to state its position as to whether this anticipated witness could be deemed a victim of any of the crimes charged in the indictment for any legal purpose,” her order stated.
It was not immediately clear if the response was filed as of Tuesday morning. The trial is scheduled to start in weeks, on Nov. 29.
The accuser was one of four in the indictment accusing well-connected British media heiress Maxwell of grooming and procuring underage girls for Epstein.
She was not named in the filings, but has alleged that Maxwell introduced her to Epstein “knowing that Epstein would engage in sex acts.”
“During those massages, Epstein sexually abused” her, the indictment said.
However, in their filing, Maxwell’s legal team said that her claim of sexual abuse is “not because she was underage and incapable of consent by law, but because her ‘subjective experience’ of these incidents was that they were ‘traumatic, exploitative, and abusive.’”
“If Accuser-3 is allowed to testify that she felt she was ‘sexually abused’ by Epstein, the jury will naturally assume that the alleged sex acts were illegal, when they were not,” the lawyers insisted.
Maxwell has been locked up in a notorious Brooklyn jail for more than a year awaiting her day in court. She has pleaded not guilty and fought unsuccessfully several times to be released on bond pending trial.
Epstein killed himself in a Lower Manhattan jail cell after he was arrested for trafficking in 2019.