ghislaine maxwell arrest charges
© Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Prosecutors in New York show a picture of Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein as they announced charges against her last July.
Legal team makes series of arguments to dismiss case, including that 2008 Epstein plea deal should shield client from prosecution

Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell complained on Monday that the pool of grand jurors who indicted her was not diverse enough, according to new court documents.

"The fact that Ms Maxwell herself is neither Black nor Hispanic does not deprive of her of standing to raise this challenge," the attorneys wrote in court papers, arguing that the US constitution "entitles every defendant to object to a [pool] that is not designed to represent a fair cross section of the community, whether or not the systematically excluded groups are groups to which he himself belongs".

Maxwell's purported concerns about diversity stem from the geographical circumstances surrounding her indictment.

Maxwell is facing charges in the southern district of New York's Manhattan division relating to her alleged involvement in her late friend Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking of minor girls.

However, she was indicted by a grand jury in the SDNY's White Plains division before her 2 July arrest, as Covid-19 had limited grand jury proceedings in Manhattan.

White Plains grand jurors hail from counties outside of New York City. Maxwell's attorneys said they were therefore "drawn from a community in which Black and Hispanic residents are significantly underrepresented by comparison.

"The sixth amendment guarantees a criminal defendant a grand jury selected from a fair cross-section of the community. Ms Maxwell's right under the sixth amendment to a grand jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community applies to the grand jury that indicted her.

"Here, the use of a White Plains jury resulted in the systematic underrepresentation of Black and Hispanic persons from the jury selection process, in violation of Ms Maxwell's sixth amendment right."

Maxwell's lawyers also argued that prosecutors could have waited to convene a grand jury in Manhattan, claiming that one such panel met "as early as" 25 June.

"There appears to have been no reason, other than a publicity-driven desire to arrest Ms Maxwell on the anniversary of the Epstein indictment, why the government could not have waited until that time," they said.

Maxwell's attorneys made the claims as part of their push to dismiss her case. Among 12 arguments attacking the indictment, they said a non-prosecution deal Epstein reached with the federal government in 2008 should shield Maxwell too.

The agreement sought to protect Epstein and those around him, but Maxwell was not identified by name in a document signed when Epstein agreed to plead guilty to state charges in Florida that forced him to register as a sex offender.

Lawyers for Epstein planned to argue that the deal protected him against sex-trafficking charges in New York City. Manhattan prosecutors maintained they could proceed against Epstein or those who worked for him regardless. Epstein killed himself at a Manhattan federal prison a month after his arrest.
ghislaine maxwell artist's conception
© REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/File Photo
July 14, 2020 in this courtroom sketch.
Maxwell, 59, was arrested in July and has remained jailed on grounds she might flee. She has pleaded not guilty to charges that she recruited three teenage girls, including a 14-year-old, for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to 1997. The indictment alleged she sometimes joined in the abuse.

Prosecutors declined to comment on Monday's filing. They will file arguments in response in a few weeks' time.

Maxwell's trial is scheduled for July. In a recent bail application, Maxwell revealed she had set aside $7.7m to be spent on lawyers out of $22.5m in assets belonging to herself and her husband.

In the event Maxwell's lawyers cannot force the dismissal of charges, they also made requests that would reduce the number of charges she faces.