U.S. judge tells lawyers in Ghislaine Maxwell case to watch what they say
From Jonathan stamp
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The US judge who oversaw the criminal case against Ghislaine Maxwell on Friday warned attorneys not to make any extrajudicial statements that could affect the upcoming sex trafficking trial of the UK celebrities.
Manhattan District Judge Alison Nathan ruled a month after Maxwell attorney David Markus said the overturning of actor Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction justified ending the charges against Maxwell https://www.reuters.com/article / uk-people-ghislaine-maxwell-cosby -idUKKCN2E82DN on the charge that she cared for and traded underage girls for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty on eight counts and faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors said Markus' opinion article in the New York Daily News violated a court order against attorneys making "extrajudicial statements" that could tarnish the jury pool.
Markus said he was not subject to the rule as he was not part of Maxwell's defense team. However, the judge found that Markus had worked on Maxwell's appeals against denied bail and identified himself as her lawyer in communications with the press and in the statement.
"These facts mean that the public, which includes potential jurors, can see Mr. Markus as an authoritative source of information regarding the pending matter and can readily consider his statements to be accurate and reliable," wrote Nathan.
The judge also said that all of the lawyers in Maxwell's case, including prosecutors, could be fined for violating the court rules.
Markus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cosby was released from prison https://www.reuters.com/world/us/bill-cosbys-sexual-assault-conviction-is-overturned-2021-06-30 after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a 2005 prosecutor's agreement not to accuse him of drugging and assaulting a woman named Andrea Constand, which freed him to testify against him in her civil suit meant he shouldn't have been charged a decade later.
Maxwell's defense team said her case was similar because she had been immunized under Epstein's 2007 Non-Prosecution Agreement, but saw prosecutors using her testimony from a 2016 civil lawsuit against her in their criminal case. Prosecutors have denied that Epstein's agreement immunized Maxwell.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)
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