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BBC’s ‘unbelievable’ Maxwell verdict blunder



Maxwell, a close associate of billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, was yesterday convicted of recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be sexually abused. She was found guilty on five of the six charges brought against her, including sex trafficking of a minor.That charge alone carries a potential prison sentence of 40 years, and Maxwell, 60, could spend the rest of her life locked away.In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, BBC World News brought on a guest to offer analysis: lawyer Alan Dershowitz.Mr Dershowitz was introduced merely as a “constitutional lawyer”, with no mention of his own personal connection to Epstein, nor of the allegations that one of Epstein and Maxwell’s victims has made against him.“Well, let’s get more analysis of that verdict now. We can speak to constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who joins us now,” the anchor said by way of introduction.Virginia Giuffre has claimed Epstein and Maxwell directed her to have sex with Mr Dershowitz, Prince Andrew and other high profile men, when she was a teenager.Mr Dershowitz denies her accusations and says he never met her. He has also filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Netflix for, in his view, portraying him in a “defamatory manner” in its documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich.The Harvard Law professor previously helped negotiate a 2008 plea deal for Epstein, which saw the financier plead guilty to charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution, register as a sex offender and serve a short jail sentence.At that stage, Epstein had been accused of abusing dozens of girls. He spent most of the subsequent decade as a free man before taking his own life in prison in 2019.Prince Andrew also denies Ms Giuffre’s claims.After being introduced for his BBC appearance, Mr Dershowitz immediately set about impugning Ms Giuffre’s credibility, suggesting the prosecution’s decision not to put her on the stand diminished the allegations against both himself and Prince Andrew.“This was a much-watched trial,” the BBC anchor put to him.“After a long set of deliberations, spanning Christmas, suddenly the jury reached a verdict.”“Well I think the most important thing, particularly for British viewers, is that the government was very careful about who it used as witnesses,” Mr Dershowitz said.“It did not use as a witness the woman who accused Prince Andrew, accused me, accused many other people, because the government didn’t believe she was telling the truth.“So this case does nothing at all to strengthen it in any way, the case against Prince Andrew. Indeed it weakens the case against Prince Andrew considerably because the government was very selective in who it used. It used only witnesses who they believed were credible.“And they deliberately didn’t use the main witness, the woman who started the whole investigation, Virginia Giuffre, because ultimately they didn’t believe she was telling the truth. They didn’t believe that a jury would believe her, and they were right in doing so.”The anchor did not push back on any of this, or provide the audience with any context regarding Mr Dershowitz’s long-running legal battle with Ms Giuffre.The lawyer, 83, has previously called Ms Giuffre a “serial liar”, and lawsuits have been launched in both directions.In a statement issued overnight, the BBC acknowledged its interview with Mr Dershowitz had been inappropriate.“Last night’s interview with Alan Dershowitz after the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict did not meet the BBC’s editorial standards, as Mr Dershowitz was not a suitable person to interview as an impartial analyst, and we did not make the relevant background clear to our audience,” it said.“We will look into how this happened.”The statement, which did not quite rise to the level of an apology, received an underwhelmed response from the rest of the media.British-American journalist Mehdi Hasan, who currently works for MSNBC in the United States, described the Dershowitz segment as “unbelievable” and among “the most shocking things” the BBC had done in recent years.Ms Giuffre, for her part, expressed relief in the immediate aftermath of the Maxwell verdict. She called Maxwell’s crimes “unforgivable” and suggested she was “more evil” than Epstein himself.“I have been dreaming of this day for the last 10 years, not knowing that it was going to come,” said Ms Giuffre.She also alluded to the other, as yet unprosecuted culprits.“It’s definitely not over. There are so many more people involved with this. It doesn’t stop with Maxwell,” she said.“I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served.“Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be.”

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