“Serious irregularities”? You betcha. A murder-for-hire to benefit Jeffrey Epstein’s friends-cum-extortion-targets? Naah, says William Barr. Despite a noticeable lack of cooperation from the people at the jail where Epstein died, the Attorney General says investigators have found no evidence that anyone other than Epstein himself was behind his hanging death earlier this month:

That answers one question, or at least leads that question toward an answer. Barr will have the Bureau of Prisons dealing with the chronic issues at the MCC, so prosecutors can work on other issues. Namely, will they soon turn their guns on Ghislaine Maxwell with Epstein now out of their reach? Epstein’s longtime pal and reputed sex-trafficking partner in crime has yet to be charged with anything, even though Attorney General William Barr has promised to go after Epstein’s “co-conspirators.” Good luck with that, writes former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, who argues that pinning Maxwell with any crime will be tough — much tougher than pundits believe:

In the days since convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell, there has been a growing public outcry asking why his longtime confidante and alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell has not yet been charged. Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi asked, “Why is she still walking around?” And after a photo (since discredited) emerged purporting to show Maxwell eating outside an In-N-Out Burger restaurant, one prominent legal analyst asked, “Why is the most wanted woman in America just walking around L.A.?”

Unfortunately, the answer is likely that law enforcement simply does not yet have sufficient evidence to ensure a conviction of Maxwell. If they had enough evidence, they would have charged her already. Getting that evidence will not be anywhere near as easy as some pundits might suggest. …

Prosecutors would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Maxwell knew that force, threats of force, fraud or coercion would be used to cause victims to engage in a commercial sex act. The bottom line is that prosecutors would need to prove that Maxwell knew Epstein abused the girls and that he used force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion to do so.

That isn’t as easy as it sounds, particularly if Epstein’s estate pays for Maxwell to have a top-flight legal team. Unlike Epstein, Maxwell does not have a prior conviction, which could have been used against Epstein at trial. Prosecutors would not be able to use affidavits to prove their case because defendants have a right to cross-examine their accusers. So victims would need to testify on the witness stand about what they saw Maxwell do. In my experience, it can be difficult for victims to face individuals who abused them as a child, and many are reluctant to do so.

As prosecutors often say, it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove. If prosecutors could have proven a case against Maxwell, the FBI would have arrested her at the same time as Epstein. That might have made things easier for prosecutors, as it would have increased pressure on both to turn on each other. If enough evidence existed for reasonable suspicion, the FBI and/or the Department of Justice might well have tried out that strategy, especially given the heavy political pressure to finally Do Something about Epstein.

The fact that Maxwell didn’t get arrested or detained tends to underscore Mariotti’s point, although a healthy respect for Maxwell’s own attorneys might have prevented such an attempt. Maxwell likely doesn’t need Epstein’s estate to fund a legal defense; she has considerable wealth of her own, as does her family. In a way, that makes Maxwell’s alleged role in Epstein’s sex trafficking more egregious (if true) and less understandable. Why would someone with Maxwell’s resources and choices tie herself to a monstrous pedophile for most of her life, to the point of allegedly enabling and facilitating him? Gross.

Just because prosecutors might not have a case at the moment against Maxwell doesn’t mean they can’t eventually build one. The key may be in allegations from lawsuits filed yesterday that Epstein used his businesses to recruit and traffic young women for his own purposes and for his friends, which means those business records could help establish and document a corrupt conspiracy:

Jeffrey Epstein employed an army of “disciples” through a complex network of companies for many years to recruit girls and young women to have sex with him, according to allegations in three lawsuits filed Tuesday. …

The three lawsuits, drafted and filed by the same law firm, describe a far-reaching network of Epstein-controlled companies and foundations that employed scores of “disciples” devoted to serving his desires.

“The main and in many instances only function of each of the associates who acted at the instruction or direction of Epstein was to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, maintain, or solicit young females, knowing that fraud or coercion would be used to cause each female, including Plaintiff, to engage in a commercial sex act,” according to the suit filed by Priscilla Doe.

“This team of individuals included chefs, butlers, receptionists, schedulers, secretaries, flight attendants, pilots, housekeepers, maids, sex recruiters, drivers and other staff members,” it says.

If that’s the case, then business records might exist to identify each of collaborators in the scheme, as well as corroborate the accounts of the alleged victims. Would those records ensnare Maxwell? At this point, she seems more of an independent operator in Epstein’s world, a volunteer rather than an employee, tied to his scheme (again, if true) by her attraction to Pedo Monster.

Maxwell’s not the only loose thread that prosecutors are now tugging. How did Epstein avoid New Mexico’s sex-offender registry? A long track record of allegations include some in that state, and now investigators want to know how Epstein slipped through the cracks. Hint: Blame Alex Acosta.