HUNTER: Ghislaine Maxwell’s legal strategy? ‘Blame Epstein’

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Defending the indefensible is the crippling lot of the defense lawyer.

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How do you defend someone like Paul Bernardo, Bruce McArthur, and scores of other monsters or those that police say are monsters?

How would you, say, defend socialite Ghislaine Maxwell?

The 59-year-old Brit is accused of being atop the pyramid in billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s far-flung sex trafficking ring. She goes on trial Monday in New York City and has pleaded not guilty, denying any wrongdoing.

Well-known Toronto criminal lawyer Monte MacGregor was succinct when I asked him how he would defend Maxwell.

The legal eagle said: “Blame Epstein.”

“As a starting point they have her mostly as a party to the offences — assisting Epstein,” MacGregor said. “So she’s not the primary abuser (although I believe that may have allegedly happened in a couple of instances), but she is more looked at as a party to the offences as an enabler or facilitator.”

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Epstein killed himself in his New York jail cell in August 2019. He is not talking.

What the federal prosecutors have to prove is that Maxwell did something with the knowledge that Epstein’s myriad of sex schemes were unlawful and that she had the intent to assist in “furtherance” of the crimes.

“So how did she help him sexually abuse these girls and traffic them to other abusers? That’s the prosecution’s burden and will be attacked by the defense,” he said.

“Blame Epstein”.

In this July 10, 2019 file photo, palm trees shade the Florida residence of Jeffrey Epstein in Palm Beach, Fla.
In this July 10, 2019 file photo, palm trees shade the Florida residence of Jeffrey Epstein in Palm Beach, Fla. Photo by Wilfredo Lee /AP Photo

“He’s not here, so probably the best bet is to say, ‘he did it all (anything that was unlawful) and from her view, she didn’t do anything to assist that was illegal,’” MacGregor said.

“She was his friend and was there to have fun and expend her riches, and he was a self-driven abuser who trafficked at will and simply kept her around because they liked one another’s company. It was an ongoing party, and she liked the drugs, alcohol, and time spent with other famous and rich celebrities.”

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We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

He added that the woman known as “Epstein’s pimp” for her alleged recruitment and grooming of underage girls for his twisted pleasures, may also claim she committed her crimes under duress.

In other words: “Blame Epstein.”

MacGregor said that argument is “not very plausible” since duress “requires a notion that there’s no alternative route of escape.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

“Think about the scenario where the bank robber kidnaps the bank manager’s wife and says let me in the vault or else I’ll kill your wife,” he said.

Maxwell and Epstein are a different kettle of fish. The pair were friends and lovers for decades. Why didn’t she go to the cops? She had ample opportunity and is wealthy and well-connected.

Then, MacGregor said, there’s the old standby: Victim blaming. The girls consented to the sexual activity.

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“A very tough road, given the ages of the victims and the multitude of accusers who (likely in some instances) couldn’t legitimately provide valid consent because of their age, which cannot be provided by minors,” the lawyer said.

“But it may be a combination built on attacking the complainants’ credibility and say they all willingly participated and consented because they liked the parties, alcohol, drugs, attention and riches/gifts that came from their relationship with Epstein.”

A friend said Maxwell was obsessed with sex. A woman alleged to be Maxwell stretches out in the sand at Jeffrey Epstein’s Florida mansion. PALM BEACH STATES ATTORNEY
A friend said Maxwell was obsessed with sex. A woman alleged to be Maxwell stretches out in the sand at Jeffrey Epstein’s Florida mansion. PALM BEACH STATES ATTORNEY

“Blame Epstein.”

“For Maxwell, I would try and distance her as far as possible from Epstein, and to try to drag the girls into pointing the finger at him while minimizing her participation,” he said.

Maxwell testifying would be “daunting”, McGregor said — and unlikely. The focus will be on the prosecution’s inability to prove she was assisting the hedge fund manager’s insidious escapades.

“Leave the jury guessing while attacking the validity of the prosecution’s case. Hoping in the end that at least one juror is with you.”

Prince Andrew et al.?

“[But] It’s likely all through cross-examination of the victims — Prince Andrew was there with Epstein —but not Ghislaine Maxwell.”

Prince Andrew has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun

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