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Ghislaine Maxwell’s privileged defenders have proven how entitled the elite really are

Mr Ahmed (not his real name) is a convicted child groomer and abuser from a northern town. I’ve got to know his wife and brother. Neither believes that he is guilty of any crimes. They tell me that he is kind and religious, that he did nothing wrong, that the victims are “rubbish girls”. (They are obviously in denial).

The Ahmeds have not been invited on to the BBC or other networks to share their doubts and genuine distress. They have not had reputable journalists writing emotive pieces on how the jailed predator deserves our pity.

Let us now consider Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted last week of procuring underage girls for her lover and partner-in-crime, Jeffery Epstein, and also of being an active participant in some acts of abuse.

After the guilty verdict last Wednesday, her brother, Ian Maxwell, was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, denouncing the judgment. Next, the biographer Tom Bower sought to mitigate Maxwell’s offences in a newspaper commentary.

He asked if “the intelligent, engaging woman” so long “cowed by her father” – the monstrous Robert Maxwell – was “fatefully destined to be shackled to two men perverted by their lust for money and power?”

Bower is an exceedingly well-connected profiler who wrote a biography of Robert Maxwell in 1988 entitled Maxwell: The Outsider. Other attempts to defend Ghislaine Maxwell pre-date the verdict,
of course.

In November, journalist Rachel Johnson penned a fun piece for The Spectator, in which she confessed she felt a “batsqueak” of sympathy for Maxwell, a fellow undergraduate at Oxford. She fondly remembered one time when the “shiny glamazon with naughty eyes was holding court astride a table” with one high-heeled boot resting on Boris Johnson’s thighs.

Other acolytes are now queuing up to plead for mercy for a socialite who is reportedly “mentally frail” and “broken” because of the legal challenges before her. Behold the moral illiteracy of the filthy rich and famous. They expect law-keepers and other upholders of social standards to handle them with (designer) kid gloves, and to be obeisant at all times.

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Mostly, they get what they expect. One of the worst examples of that genuflection was the way that Epstein’s young victims were side-lined by the FBI in 2008. He was convicted of soliciting prostitution from just one under-age girl and released after 13 months.

Much of the media too, is wary of holding “celebs” to account. In 2002, journalist Vicky Ward wrote what she thought was an immaculately sourced investigative article on Epstein and young girls for the US edition of Vanity Fair. It was never published. Whyever not? We can guess the answer.

Last month, in court in New York, Maxwell arrogantly stated: “The [US] government has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. So, there is no need for me to testify.”

She has never expressed any remorse for her crimes and once, reportedly told a confidante: “They’re nothing, these girls, They are trash.”

Until 2009, Maxwell was happily accepting millions of dollars from Epstein, presumably for services rendered. Such people dwell with their own types in toxic, impenetrable habitats.

Will the men in the sleazy Epstein-Maxwell axis – princes, political leaders, businessmen, tech genii, wheelers and dealers, top lawyers too – now be named, tried and dishonoured? I can’t see that happening.

Invincible and entitled, they will not give up their privileges and secrets. They didn’t get to where they are by playing by the rules. And their wealth affords them access to lawyers who will happily line up to shield them from the kind of trial and media scrutiny that Maxwell has gone through.

From tax avoidance to sex crimes, it’s one law for them and one law for us common folk. If things continue as they are, this case will change nothing.



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