FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell trial in New York

FILE PHOTO: Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell sits as the guilty verdict in her sex abuse trial is read in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., December 29, 2021. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. government is prepared to dismiss two perjury charges against Ghislaine Maxwell if her conviction for aiding Jeffrey Epstein's sexual abuses is allowed to stand, according to a joint letter from prosecutors and Maxwell's defense team.

In the Monday night letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, prosecutors said dismissing the perjury counts would reflect the victims' "significant interests in bringing closure to this matter and avoiding the trauma of testifying again."

Prosecutors also asked the Manhattan judge to sentence Maxwell in about three to four months.

Lawyers for Maxwell oppose setting any timetable, believing that one juror's post-trial revelations about having been sexually abused was a "compelling basis" to overturn their client's conviction and grant a new trial, the letter said.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted on Dec. 29 after a month-long trial on sex trafficking and other charges of recruiting and grooming underage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004.

Lawyers for the British socialite challenged the conviction after one juror told Reuters that when some jurors expressed skepticism about the accounts of two Maxwell accusers, he shared his experience of having been sexually abused as a child.

That juror's disclosures to Reuters and other media "influenced the deliberations and convinced other members of the jury to convict Ms. Maxwell," Maxwell's lawyers have said.

Maxwell faces up to 65 years in prison on her conviction.

The perjury charges concern allegations that Maxwell lied about her knowledge of Epstein's behavior during depositions taken in 2016 for a separate civil lawsuit.

Each charge carries a maximum five-year prison term. Nathan decided last April to try them in a separate trial.

Nathan gave Maxwell's lawyers until Jan. 19 to formally explain why the conviction should be overturned. Prosecutors have until Feb. 2 to respond.

Epstein, a financier and convicted sex offender, killed himself in August 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting his own sex trafficking trial.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Michael Perry)

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