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Ghislaine Maxwell to appeal sex trafficking conviction

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell will be appealing her 2022 conviction for sex trafficking.

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell will be appealing her 2022 conviction for sex trafficking. Photo: AP

Disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is set to appear in a New York court to appeal against her sex trafficking conviction.

The 62-year-old was found guilty in December 2021 of luring young girls to massage rooms for paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein to molest between 1994 and 2004.

She was sentenced to 20 years in prison at the federal court in the Southern District of New York in June 2022.

On Tuesday, Maxwell’s lawyers are set to argue her victims had “faded, distorted and motivated memories”.

Jurors heard prosecutors describe Maxwell as “dangerous” during her three-week trial, and were told details of how she helped entice vulnerable teenagers to Epstein’s various properties for him to sexually abuse.

But her legal team will claim she did not have a fair trial after it emerged one of the jurors, Scotty David, failed to disclose he had been sexually abused in his pre-trial questionnaire.

At Maxwell’s sentencing hearing, Judge Alison Nathan said it was important that although “Epstein was central to this scheme” she was not being sentenced “as a proxy” for him.

She said: “The defendant’s conduct … was heinous and predatory.

“Ms Maxwell worked with Epstein to select young victims who were vulnerable and played a pivotal role in facilitating sexual abuse.”

The US government lawyers said Maxwell’s appeal arguments “fall far short of establishing Judge Nathan abused her discretion” in her decision not to overturn the jury’s verdict.

They will also argue that her sentence was not unfair and that her arguments to the contrary are “so cursory and undeveloped” that they should be dismissed.

She was convicted of five offences, including sex trafficking minors, conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Maxwell has been incarcerated since July 2020, despite numerous attempts from her defence counsel to have her released on bail.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

The death was ruled a suicide.

– AAP

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