Should Ghislaine Maxwell be allowed to plea bargain?


Fact Box

  • On Thursday, after charging Ghislaine Maxwell with recruiting, grooming and sexually abusing underage girls as young as 14 as part of Epstein's alleged yearslong criminal enterprise, federal prosecutors disclosed that for a five-year period beginning in 2007, Maxwell and Epstein exchanged more than $20 million dollars between their bank accounts, with the sums going first from Epstein to Maxwell, and then back to Epstein. CNN
  • Before her arrest, Maxwell was living on a 156-acre New Hampshire estate purchased for $1.07 million in cash in December 2019 'through a carefully anonymized LLC,' according to court papers and the realty company. 
  • Maxwell, 58, was charged in a 17-page indictment with allegedly enticing a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to commit both of those crimes, and perjury related to a sworn deposition. If convicted, she faces up to 35 years in federal prison.
  • Ghislaine Maxwell will be 'naming names' and 'fully cooperating' with the FBI and Prince Andrew is among those 'very worried' about what she might reveal.

Noah (Yes)

Just like any other US citizen accused of a crime, Ghislaine Maxwell is rightfully allowed to plea bargain. 

Over 97% of all federal criminal cases resolved via plea bargains, not trials. Although the Constitution provides defendants with the right to a speedy trial, this, in actuality, rarely happens anymore.

Our entire criminal justice system is built around plea bargains, and Maxwell's case is no exception. Her cooperation will be critical to the ongoing Jeffrey Epstein investigation, and in return, she will be able to negotiate the outcome of her sentence. If she pleads guilty, this assists the investigation, thus preventing victims from having to testify in open court.

Even former Supreme Court Justice Kennedy recognized the almost permanent dismissal of trials by a jury of our peers from our legal system, when he quoted a law-review article and wrote from the bench: ''Horse trading [between prosecutor and defense counsel] determines now who goes to jail and for how long. That is what plea bargaining is. It is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system; it is the criminal justice system.''

Why has this happened? Mainly because of increased costs, time, and workloads. And finding qualified citizens who are willing to give up their days and salaries to sit as jurors in a Federal trial is difficult. Prosecutors prefer plea bargains as they dramatically raise their success rates for convictions, a number which determines their future career and salary levels.

No matter what one thinks about Epstein and his crimes, Ghislaine Maxwell is innocent until proven guilty and entitled to all of the protections afforded any criminal defendant, including the right to plea bargain for a better outcome of her case.


Bertie (No)

Consensus seems fairly unanimously agreed that both Jeffrey Epstein and his former lover/accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, are monstrous human beings. The fact that Epstein 'committed suicide' before reaching trial last year gives added weight to the need for the newly-arrested Maxwell being held to account for her crimes in that nasty empire.

There's rife speculation Maxwell will be offered a plea deal to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, but she shouldn't be awarded the opportunity. A plea deal would likely open the door for her to slither away to some palatial hideout and thereby give the distinct impression that, when well enough connected, one can simply buy or negotiate their way out of consequences for crimes.

It's also entirely likely that a plea deal would end in Maxwell's death either by her own hand or with outside 'help' due to what she can add to the open secret of the little black book kept by Epstein. A plea deal isn't even necessary for authorities to have names as this book has been in the FBI's possession since at least 2015, though it's thought she could add corroborating video evidence as well.

It's also true that Maxwell doesn't deserve a plea deal as her crimes, going back decades, are sadistic and vile and perpetrated against young women whose trust she engendered. It's alleged that not only did she lure girls in via 'friendship' with them, but on occasion actually participated in their subsequent abuse. Allowing Maxwell to cop a deal to save her own skin would be a gross miscarriage of justice.

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