Memo to the Media, the Judge, and the Attorneys on the Ghislaine Maxwell Case: Trump Isn't on Trial

AP Photo/Ben Gray

There are several issues I have with the criminal justice system, but among the more frustrating things is when people not connected to cases get dragged into testimony or even testifying, simply to serve as a giant target for the attorneys and the media.


Just this week, during the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged “Number 2” in the Jeffrey Epstein pedophile sex ring which victimized numerous girls for several decades, we got another look at what I believe is gross prosecutorial misconduct, which should have earned the prosecutor an immediate benching from the trial and firing from the DOJ.

On Wednesday, during testimony from one of Epstein’s victims, defense Attorney Laura Menninger questioned the woman known in court as “Jane,” about an encounter with Donald Trump in the 1990s at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. Menninger asked specifically about Epstein introducing Jane to Trump, referring to language that Epstein used during the introduction allegedly questioning “This is a good one, right?”

While I could expect the caliber of defense attorneys you could expect for a piece of human debris like Ghislaine Maxwell, the prosecution should have at some point objected to the testimony on the grounds of relevance.

Why? Pretty simple: Donald Trump is not on trial. The defense attorney specifically asked these questions to make this trial less about the facts and more about a trial in the court of public opinion. She knew darn well how this testimony would be taken, and that the focus would be diverted away from the scumbags who victimized all these girls, to Trump, whom they would rather tacitly accuse of something of which he is neither accused nor guilty.


Of course, the media wasn’t far behind with their headlines and articles, leaving exculpatory evidence further down in the article, hoping that the mindless sharers on social media would share the article if for no other reason than to impugn the former President. The New York Daily News was on the hunt, with the headline, “Jeffrey Epstein introduced 14-year-old victim to Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Ghislaine Maxwell trial testimony reveals.

“An underage victim of Jeffrey Epstein competed in Donald Trump’s teen beauty pageant in the 1990s after being introduced to the future president by the notorious sex offender, according to testimony Wednesday.”

NBC News wasn’t far behind with, “Jeffrey Epstein introduced me to Trump at 14, Ghislaine Maxwell accuser says.

One of the four women who say they were “groomed” for sex by Ghislaine Maxwell testified Wednesday that the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein took her to meet Donald Trump when she was just 14.

CNBC also joined with, “Ghislaine Maxwell trial: Sex crimes accuser testifies Jeffrey Epstein took her to meet Trump when she was 14.

A woman who says she was sexually abused by late sex criminal and financier Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell testified Wednesday that Epstein took her to meet Donald Trump at his Florida club when she was 14 years old.


UPI also had an offering, “Maxwell accuser testifies Epstein brought her to meet Donald Trump at age 14.”

A woman who accused Ghislaine Maxwell of grooming her to be sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein testified Wednesday that the late financier took her to meet Donald Trump when she was 14 years old.

And even Insider had, “Accuser who testified Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her for years says she was on a flight with Prince Andrew and met Trump.

Look at the wording of those headlines. “Introduced 14-year-old victim to Trump”… “introduced me to Trump at 14″… “accuser testifies Jeffrey Epstein took her to meet Trump when she was 14″…  “accuser testifies Epstein brought her to meet Donald Trump at age 14″… “Accuser who testified Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her for years says she was on a flight with Prince Andrew and met Trump”

The first suggests that the victim was Trump’s victim. Several use Epstein as context for the introductions. The third suggests that “sex crimes” were the reason Epstein introduced Trump to the victim. The fourth uses the word “brought” intentionally making the victim in this case a product to be delivered. The last suggests that the alleged victim met Trump on a flight with Epstein and Prince Andrew, something the victim never said happened.


In fact, after much of the accusatory rhetoric, most of the articles got to the point of stating that the victim never accused Trump of any wrongdoing, and then later contextualized that Epstein was introducing her to Trump to get her involved in the Miss Teen USA pageant, which Trump owned. Never mind the numerous instances of attempts of guilty by association, or the flat-out attempts to word things in a way to suggest that Trump was complicit, an offender, or was in places he never was.

These details revealed in court, which seem to be hyper-focused on protecting the victims (as it should be), should also be focused on protecting the names of anyone they cannot, beyond a reasonable doubt, suggest were involved in any criminal activity. Where are mentions of any of the other dozen people on Epstein’s black book or other people that Epstein may have introduced the victim to, for the purpose of committing a crime? Where were the objections by the prosecution? Where was the judge demanding to know where this line of questioning was going? What, if any, necessary information for the jury was ascertained during the cross-examination?

None of the answers to these questions provide us with any justification as to why Trump was unnecessarily brought up in court. This was purely an attempt to defame Trump and drag him into the mess that Menninger’s client is in. Shame on them for doing so. Shame on the prosecutors for not objecting to the line of questioning. And shame on the Judge for not stopping it when it was occurring.


They have to remember this, and the case should be run this way: Donald Trump is not on trial here, and unless they have direct evidence of Trump engaging in illegal behavior or any other way of showing he is connected to the accusations that Maxwell faces, his name should be prohibited from being included testimony.

Oh, and Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.


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