Let’s savor, for a moment, what Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense might look like.
Given today’s preview . . . let’s just say Casey Anthony had less of a shot, but at least she knew how to hire a lawyer.
Not so Ghislaine. Oh, no. Her attorney Mark Cohen began by describing the inhuman conditions his multimillionaire client, friend to princes and presidents, has suffered in jail. No acknowledgement of multiple survivors of childhood sexual abuse, of her decades-long involvement with late pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, just Cohen riding a bullet train to the really important stuff.
Maxwell, he lamented, is “alone in her room, lights on all the time” and once “wasn’t allowed to shower for 72 hours.”
Really, what is jail without a good long scrub and some fancy pajamas? It’s all she’s ever known, the lifestyle to which she is accustomed.
So Maxwell was hoping, her lawyer said, that the court might let her await trial in a luxury Manhattan hotel. So many are empty these days, what with COVID-19.
After all, even Harvey Weinstein got bail. (Cohen didn’t invoke this particular monster — a noticeable omission to be sure, seeing as Cohen also invoked Madoff’s bail terms.) Cohen then went so far as to reference the two lawyers who threw a Molotov cocktail into an NYPD cop car — they just got out on bail, he said. Why not Maxwell?
“Just give her stricter bail conditions,” he begged the judge.
But it was not to be. Maxwell was left visibly crying as the judge denied her.
Few things in quarantine have brought more pleasure than the truth that Ghislaine Maxwell, 58 years old but really at the end of life as she knows it, cannot believe she is where she is, wearing paper clothes, sleeping on bare mattresses, moved cell to cell to evade would-be assassins in prison.
Sipping from a Styrofoam cup and wearing a regulation mud-colored top, Maxwell appeared via video feed from a tiny room in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, where she’s been held since her July 2 arrest.
Her lawyers, by instruction or design, argued that Maxwell is the victim here. Much in keeping with Maxwell’s leaks to the press — friends and family deputized to divulge how brainwashed she was, how in love with this cretin, how damaged by her daddy’s death and lost fortune — her defense team is blaming everyone else, including the media and the government.
Maxwell, Cohen said, “is not Jeffrey Epstein. [She] is the target of essentially endless media spin . . . She is not the monster she’s been portrayed as by the media and the government.”
Cohen used the word “spin” at least nine times. Sure, he said, Maxwell has three passports — but she hasn’t left the U.S. in a year! She was forced to spend a holiday weekend — ironically, Fourth of July, Independence Day — in jail! As for her 15 different bank accounts, did the court know Maxwell had a not-for-profit — which, Cohen said, she was unfairly “forced to shut . . . down because of issues with the media.”
Not anything she might have done, not at all. It’s all a big misunderstanding. Cohen again blamed the media for portraying Ghislaine Maxwell as a “ruthless . . . sinister person,” a portrayal that has left anyone who would defend her — say, Prince Andrew? — simply too afraid.
The judge was having none of it, and back Maxwell went to whatever hellhole she’s in today. It’s a victory, but a brief one. The long game is keeping her alive so she can mount her ridiculous, self-pitying defense, or to cut a deal and name all the names.
Give the survivors this much. Make up for Epstein, and then some.