How the Princess Diana link to Jeffrey Epstein’s trial came about

Maxwell and Epstein were both alleged to have slept with John ‘Screamin’ John’ Ziegler, photographer whose infamous nude photo of Princess Diana was hung at Epstein’s mansion

Photographs from the trial of Jeffrey Epstein reveal how the two were photographed in a party-like atmosphere at his secluded rented cabins at Queen’s Peak overlooking Highland Perthshire.

On one of the black-and-white photos, Maxwell and Epstein are seen with their backs to the camera lounging in a cabin.

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The connection to Epstein – who was sentenced in 2008 to 15 years’ imprisonment on charges of soliciting prostitution from minor children – goes back to 2005, when a photograph showed Maxwell in a sitting room with the owner of Miami’s Plaza Hotel, where Epstein lived and went to play poker. The pair were lounging in the same summer log cabin near Bute which Maxwell rented after moving to Scotland.

The pictures were given to an FBI court-appointed expert to compare Epstein’s physical appearance in the images to that of Maxwell, an art collector who is also the ex-wife of the Pakistani billionaire Najibullah Khan. The jury never heard this evidence due to the lack of witnesses.

When Epstein was investigated by the FBI in 2013 he was found to have paid minor girls to do sex acts. A collection of 17 naked photographs of minor girls were discovered in his collection. Epstein was jailed in 2008 at the same time as the FBI raided his Florida home and seized a significant portion of his collection, images of which were seized from the cabin where he lived,

The FBI seized images of the cabin where Maxwell had rented while visiting Jeffrey Epstein at his mansion. Photograph: Steven Lucci/The Guardian

Prosecutors demanded that Maxwell should be banned from the cabin as she was alleged to have engaged in commercial sexual conduct with Epstein and his underage sex worker and bought air tickets for Epstein and his victims to travel between America and the UK.

The trial didn’t go ahead, and Maxwell’s name was never mentioned. It was only the night before closing arguments that Maxwell’s role as her ex-husband’s girlfriend appeared. The jury heard that while Maxwell was in Scotland, her social circles were changed, with her business activities driven by Epstein’s campaign to encourage Mohammad Bin Salman, the son of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to succeed his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

Paul Danyliw, the prosecutor, asked the judge if it was permitted to refer to Maxwell’s relationship with Epstein as “romantic” or “falling in love”, and to rely on “photos of her welling up with emotion”. The judge agreed that the jury would find this prejudicial.

Epstein’s trial was conducted under seal due to the long history of Epstein and Maxwell’s toxic bond. The judge, a former magistrate, ruled that publication of details would prejudice a jury and would breach her privacy, which was protected under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The not guilty verdict was made public by the judge a year later, after disclosures of the evidence of one of Epstein’s accusers under the US Right to Information Act.

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