Ghislaine Maxwell trial: U.S. judge to allow expert on ‘false memories’ to testify

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A US judge has allowed British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell to summon a psychologist who specializes in how memories can be distorted over time to testify at her trial on sexual abuse allegations.

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Lawyers for Maxwell, who prosecutors have accused of recruiting and framing underage girls to commit abuse for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, have said they gave American psychologist Elizabeth Loftus “false memories” of sexual abuse. to testify about what people can describe with confidence. Without knowingly lying.

Loftus, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, has testified in hundreds of trials, including a defense witness in the murder trial of real estate heir Robert Durst and former filmmaker Harvey Weinstein on rape and sexual assault charges. Both were convicted.

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US District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan said she would allow Loftus’ testimony in an order issued Monday. Initial statements in the trial will begin on November 29.

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Federal prosecutors asked Nathan to restrict Loftus’ testimony, which some of his opinions were “unreliable.”

In particular, he cited his opinion that the information people hear about an event can change their memories of that event.

Nathan said she would accept some testimony from Loftus and Park Dietz, another psychologist who has been projected by the defense as an expert, without specifying which testimony was admissible.

Dietz is expected to contradict the testimony of prosecution witness Lisa Rocchio, a psychologist hoping to discuss how underage sexual abuse victims are “dressed” by their predators.

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Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of sex trafficking and other offences.

Prosecutors have said that Maxwell encouraged the girls to give Epstein a “sexual massage.”

Epstein died by suicide at 66 in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sexual abuse charges.

Reporting by Luke Cohen; Editing by Grant McCool

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