Ghislaine Maxwell's Lawyers Say She Was Demonized by the Media Over Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell has been "demonized" with "pervasive, vitriolic, and extreme" press coverage, her lawyers said in a court filing.

The British socialite was Jeffrey Epstein's former lover and is accused of having groomed underage girls for him to abuse.

The U.S. District Court is preparing to pick a jury but Maxwell's legal team has requested secrecy on the basis of what it described as "intense negative media coverage."

They argued that an unusually careful selection process will be necessary to find jurors who have not already made up their minds about her.

And a court filing seen by Newsweek suggested any press coverage of juror responses could sway the answers of future candidates in the process.

Maxwell's legal team wrote: "Without a doubt, and without any credible evidentiary basis, Ms. Maxwell has been tried, convicted, and condemned in the court of public opinion.

"Based on widespread coverage of her extraordinary and miserable conditions of pretrial detention, unsworn 'jurors' likely believe sentence has already been imposed."

The filing added: "The effect of such recurring reporting regarding Epstein has had an incalculable spillover effect that has indelibly stained Ms. Maxwell and significantly impacted her ability to receive a fair trial by an impartial jury."

Her team said they were worried the high-profile New York trials of Harvey Weinstein and R. Kelly, as well as the resignation of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over allegations he mistreated women, may have created a charged atmosphere for jurors.

The filing reads: "The fact that a woman now stands trial for charges almost exclusively alleged against men heightens the interest and intrigue of this case."

It added: "The negative publicity has been so pervasive, vitriolic, and extreme that Ms. Maxwell has been demonized in the press. While the Court has no power to protect Ms. Maxwell from such public contempt, it can exercise its supervisory powers and discretion and implement protocols designed to obtain an open-minded jury sworn to return a verdict based solely on evidence presented at trial."

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
Jeffrey Epstein poses for a sex offender mugshot after being charged on July 25, 2013 in Florida. Ghislaine Maxwell during a Chanel jewelry event in New York City, on October 24, 2005. Maxwell's legal team has requested secrecy on the basis of what it described as "intense negative media coverage." Florida Department of Law Enforcement via Getty Images and Shawn Ehlers/WireImage for CHANEL

The attorneys pointed to a Google search that returned "about 4,590,000 results" for "Ghislaine Maxwell" and one that returned "about 25,800,000 results" for "Jeffrey Epstein."

The filing read: "The intense negative media coverage of Ms. Maxwell and Epstein, most profoundly in the aftermath of his death in August 2019 and the arrest of Ms. Maxwell in July 2020, has significantly increased the likelihood that prospective jurors will report to jury selection with preconceptions, impressions, and opinions about the conduct at issue in the trial and those accused of the charges in the indictment.

"The publicity includes extensive coverage in the press, including newspapers, magazines, and on-line sites; in broadcast media, including regular and cable television stations, radio, and streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Peacock, and Amazon; in podcasts and YouTube recordings; in social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; in online sites, chat rooms and blogs."

The discussion comes as Prince Andrew—a friend of Maxwell's—is due to present his response to a civil lawsuit accusing him of raping Virginia Giuffre when she was 17.

Maxwell denies trafficking offenses and is due to stand trial next month, in November.