Prosecutors in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking case will be allowed to use the word “victim” and “minor” to refer to the accusers during their upcoming trial in federal court in New York, it was ruled Monday.
Judge Alison Nathan’s decision to allow the use of “victim” stemmed from a challenge by Maxwell’s defense team, which had requested that the word be excluded from the trial, which will begin in Manhattan this month.
Nathan said, “The exclusion of the word is unnecessary and impractical.”
“It is appropriate to use the terms as representative of your position in the litigation,” Nathan said of the prosecution.
This proceeding is only the second time that Maxwell, the heir to the British media and ex-girlfriend of the late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has appeared in person in a courtroom for her case, amid restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Epstein committed suicide in a New York federal jail in August 2019, while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy.
The use of “victim” in criminal cases has drawn attention, especially given a recent ruling in the Kyle Rittenhouse case in Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse faces two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, in connection with shooting three people during protests in Kenosha last year after a white police officer wounded a local black father, Jacob Blake. The judge in Rittenhouse’s trial, which began Monday, sparked controversy when he ruled last week that prosecutors could not call Rittenhouse’s shooting “victims,” although the defense team could refer to them as “rioters” or “looters. “.
Prosecutors in Maxwell’s case had also asked Nathan to allow them to use pseudonyms, or just first names, for some accusers and witnesses at trial, and the judge agreed.
“Given the sensitive and inflammatory nature of the alleged conduct, such publicity can cause further harassment and embarrassment, and other alleged victims of sex crimes may be discouraged from coming forward,” Nathan explained.
“The fact that the names of some victims are publicly available does not mean that the details of their experiences are already available,” Nathan said as well, noting that “the alleged victims will testify with explicit details.”
Maxwell is charged with allegedly procuring girls for Epstein to sexually abuse them from 1994 to 2004. Prosecutors say some of Maxwell’s victims were 14 years old. If convicted, she faces up to 80 years in federal prison. She has denied all charges.
On Monday, she appeared exhausted when she was brought to court in handcuffs and ankle restraints, which were later removed.
Maxwell, 59, helped Epstein “recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims” who they knew were minors, it is alleged.
She also “first tried to befriend some of Epstein’s minor victims prior to their abuse, including asking the victims about their lives, their schools, and their families. Maxwell and Epstein would spend time making friends with minor victims, for example, taking minor victims to the movies or shopping, “prosecutors have said.
“Some of these outings would involve Maxwell and Epstein spending time together with a minor victim, while others would involve Maxwell or Epstein spending time alone with a minor victim,” prosecutors said of the alleged preparation process, adding: ” Having developed a relationship with a victim, Maxwell would attempt to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim … discussing sexual issues, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim undressed and / or being present for sexual acts involving the minor victim and Epstein. “
Opening arguments must be submitted by November 29.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism