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Episode 33 of 55

Ex-Sex Trafficking Prosecutor Unpacks the Early Stages of Ghislaine Maxwell's Trial (Feat. Mitchell Epner)

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In 2000, former President Bill Clinton signed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, a landmark piece of legislation later reauthorized by his successors that protect survivors with tools like "T" visas and stiff penalties for alleged perpetrators."Prior to that, victims were loathe to cooperate, because they would often be shipped back to towns where the traffickers held power and could exact awful reprisals," attorney Mitchell Epner, a former federal prosecutor who led intake on sex-trafficking cases in the District of New Jersey in 2003 and 2004, told Law&Crime. "Traffickers would often threaten girls and women that, if they cooperated with police/prosecutors, they would be killed in hideous fashion after being deported."Now of counsel with the firm Rottenberg Lipman Rich PC, Epner drew from his experiences navigating that then-nascent prosecutorial tool to offer insights into the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. She stands accused of sexually trafficking minors for Jeffrey Epstein and enticed them to travel to perform illegal sex acts.If convicted of all charges, Maxwell, 59, can be imprisoned effectively for the rest of her life.Offering analysis at length in a Zoom interview, Epner told Law&Crime's podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld" that the outcome of Maxwell's trial will depend less on the panel's studious parsing of the various exhibits that come into evidence.Instead, Maxwell's fate will hinge upon something more fundamental: whose account the jury believes.Quoting the famed trial lawyer Gerry Spence, Epner said: "Facts are not persuasive; stories are."See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at