FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show ‘Co-Conspirators’ In Ghislaine Maxwell’s Criminal Case?
An image shared on Facebook over 150 times allegedly shows a court filing listing over 35 “co-conspirators” in the criminal case against Ghislaine Maxwell.
The image shows part of a document from a 2020 civil lawsuit filed against Maxwell and others, not the criminal case against her. The civil lawsuit was dismissed last year.
The criminal trial of Maxwell, the ex-girlfriend and confidant of deceased convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is scheduled to start Nov. 29, NPR reported. She has been charged with grooming underaged girls for sex, to which she has pleaded not guilty, according to the outlet.
The Facebook post, which features what appears to be a court document, purports to contain a recently-released list of dozens of alleged “co-conspirators” from her criminal case, including Beyonce, ViacomCBS and Sony Entertainment. The image has also been shared on Twitter with a similar claim.
“The filing documents for the Ghislaine Maxwell trial have been released,” reads the Facebook post. “Hefty list of Celebrities and Big Corporations here. Don’t let the media distract you from this case.” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Don Lemon With Jeffrey Epstein?)
But, contrary to what social media users are alleging, the document is not part of Maxwell’s criminal case. It originates from a civil lawsuit, titled “Latham et al v. The 1953 Trust et al,” against Epstein’s estate The 1953 Trust, Maxwell and others. That civil lawsuit, filed in August 2020, made allegations of the defendants being involved in human trafficking, abuse and financial exploitation of the plaintiff for years. In September 2020, the case was dismissed by a U.S. District judge as “frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i),” according to a court document and records on the legal information database Justia.
The separate, since-dismissed civil lawsuit from which the document stems has a different case number than Maxwell’s criminal case. The case number of the civil suit is “1:20-cv-07102-UA,” whereas the criminal case’s number is “1:20-cr-00330-AJN.”
The New York Times reported Nov. 16 that the prosecutors for Maxwell’s federal sex-trafficking trial said they would argue there were three co-conspirators – Epstein and two other unnamed individuals. However, Maxwell’s attorneys said the two people are not available for testifying, according to the outlet. Epstein died of an apparent suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial for federal sex trafficking charges.
Jury selection for Maxwell’s upcoming trial started earlier this month, according to the Associated Press.