Does Ghislaine Maxwell have an easy out on all the Epstein charges?

Hopefully, the New York correctional system will take Ed Morrissey’s advice and put Ghislaine Maxwell on some sort of 24×7 international monitoring system so she doesn’t “accidentally injure herself.” But while we wait to see that bit of drama play out, Maxwell’s lawyers are hard at work building a case to show why she really can’t be prosecuted at all. Note that they’re not even suggesting she didn’t do anything wrong (yet), though their client continues to insist she’s innocent. Instead, it’s anticipated that they will be attempting to claim that a plea deal Jeffrey Epstein cut in Florida a dozen years ago shields her from any prosecution. Could this even work? (Associated Press)

Before Jeffrey Epstein’s jailhouse suicide last year, his defense hinged on a 2008 deal with federal prosecutors in Florida over his alleged sexual abuse of multiple teenage girls. His lawyers said it prevented him from being charged with further crimes.

Could that same deal now help Ghislaine Maxwell, the Epstein confidante arrested Thursday, evade charges she helped lure at least three girls into sexual liaisons with him?

Maxwell’s lawyers haven’t outlined their defense strategy, but her legal team is bound to raise the issue in the months ahead.

Crazier things have happened in courts of law, but this seems to be stretching the limits of legal imagination. This was the argument that Epstein’s own lawyers were preparing to make last year before the notorious pedophile’s “unfortunate suicide.” He had cut a plea deal with federal prosecutors in Florida in 2008, By accepting a 13-month sentence on lesser state charges, Epstein was supposedly granted immunity from prosecution for any other related crimes. Not all federal prosecutors agreed, leading to a Manhattan prosecutor locking him up in preparation to take another run at him.

But there was another, less-discussed codicil in that agreement that allegedly prevented criminal charges from being filed “against any potential co-conspirators of Epstein.” The agreement specified the names of four other women who also allegedly procured underage girls for the pervert and his friends, but it also specifically said that the protection in question “was not limited” to only those four women. So at least on the surface, it sounds like that provision might cover Maxwell as well.

How Epstein’s lawyers managed to land such a sweeping, generous deal for their client in Florida remains a mystery. We never found out if the courts would be willing to consider the plea deal as an escape hatch last time because the pedophile “committed suicide” before the matter could be settled. But assuming that Ghislaine Maxwell somehow manages to remain upright and above room temperature from now until her date with a judge, that argument looks like it will be put to the test.

It just seems insane to me that this could actually work. Maxwell was never even named in the 2008 case, so none of her alleged crimes or conspiratorial participation was examined or taken into account when the deal was struck. For all we know, there could have been dozens of people out there, chaining young girls to radiators in Epstein’s pleasure palace. Are we to assume that they would all be free and clear under the terms of that deal? It boggles the mind.

Meanwhile, as the New York Post points out this weekend, it’s widely expected that Maxwell is going to spill the beans if she can’t get the entire case dismissed out of hand. It’s not just a question of testimony, either. There are allegedly videos, and some of Maxwell’s friends are positive she has some of them. And that’s leaving a long list of influential people looking very nervous. But we’re not just talking about Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Alan Dershowitz. There are others.

The report brings up people such as billionaire hedge fund owner Glenn Dubin, Countess Clare Hazell, former Harvard president Larry Summers and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. All of their names have appeared in the flight logs of the Lolita Express, and Maxwell could potentially have dirt on some of them. Particularly if the dirt in question includes videos, the ones who have thus far managed to shrug off any implications of wrongdoing could be back in the hot seat.

Epstein himself may be long since dead and buried, but his awful legacy lives on. And now that Ghislaine Maxwell is in a cage and potentially getting ready to sing, this nasty spectacle may take us down any number of dark rabbit holes before we’re through.