Ghislaine Maxwell tries to have 20-year sex trafficking conviction thrown out

Ghislaine Maxwell at a press conference on the issue of oceans in the Sustainable Development Goals at the UN headquarters in New York, June 2013. On Tuesday, Maxwell's attorney asked a federal judge to overturn her 20 year prison sentence for helping Jeffrey Epstein groom underage girls. Photo Provided By Rick Baiornas/EPA-EFE

March 12 (UPI) -- A lawyer for Ghislaine Maxwell on Tuesday asked a federal judge to reverse her 20-year jail sentence for aiding the late Jeffrey Epstein in grooming underage girls.

On Tuesday, Maxwell's defense attorney, Diana Fabi Samson, argued to a three-judge panel on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- which oversees judicial issues in New York, Connecticut and Vermont -- that her client should have been legally immune in a previous agreement made with Epstein by Florida prosecutors in 2007.

"The plea agreement applies to preclude this prosecution," Samson stated on behalf of Maxwell, who was not in attendance.

"Denying the viability of this plea agreement strikes a dagger in the heart of the trust between the government and its citizens regarding plea agreements."

Maxwell, now 62, was sentenced in June 2022 to 20 years in prison for her role in Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking scheme after a federal judge in April that year declined to overturn Maxwell's conviction. She is serving time in a low-security Florida prison.

In a written court appeals document, Samson said that Maxwell was turned into a "proxy" by others in order "to satisfy public outrage" for Epstein's multiple crimes and had been denied a fair trial due to the fact that one of the juror's did not disclose during jury selection a history of being sexually abused.

Maxwell's lawyer added that by not honoring that agreement, it would "strike a dagger in the heart of the trust between the government and its citizens."

But prosecutors pointed out that Epstein's agreement that Maxwell's attorney contends applies to her as well stated that it was "a promise by the Southern District of Florida not to prosecute Epstein in that district."

"This is a document entered into by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of Florida intended to bind the Southern District of Florida and that district alone," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Rohrbach.