US judge denies Ghislaine Maxwell’s motion to toss sex trafficking conviction but has time shaved off

A US judge has concluded that there was enough evidence to convict British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell of sex trafficking girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse, but she also gave Maxwell a legal victory by concluding that three conspiracy counts charged the same crime and she can only be sentenced for one.

US District Judge Alison J Nathan said in her written ruling that the jury’s guilty verdicts were “readily supported” by extensive witness testimony and documentary evidence at a one-month trial that concluded in December.

Lawyers for Maxwell had asked the judge to reject the verdict on multiple grounds, including insufficient evidence.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted of recruiting teenage girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse, from 1994 to 2004.

Judge Nathan said that she would only sentence Maxwell in late June on three of the five counts that she was convicted on, after concluding that two conspiracy counts were duplicates of the third.

“This legal conclusion in no way calls into question the factual findings made by the jury,” the judge wrote.

“Rather, it underscores that the jury unanimously found — three times over — that the Defendant is guilty of conspiring with Epstein to entice, transport, and traffic underage girls for sexual abuse.”

The reduction of counts from five to three was not expected to have much effect on the sentencing, when Maxwell could face a sentence ranging from several years to decades in prison.

Lawyers for Maxwell did not return messages requesting comment. Prosecutors declined to comment.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-30/judge-denies-ghislaine-maxwells-bid-to-overturn-conviction/101027810

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