May 6, 2021

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Ghislaine Maxwell Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Trafficking Allegations | Sexual assault news

Ghislaine Maxwell Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Trafficking Allegations |  Sexual assault news


Maxwell is accused of treating and recruiting teenage girls to allow Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty on Friday to federal sex trafficking charges in the US case accusing her of helping late financier Jeffrey Epstein recruit and sexually abuse girls.

Maxwell, 59, filed his statement through his attorney before United States District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan. The charges were included in an eight-count indictment filed on March 29.

Prosecutors accused Maxwell of caring for and paying a girl who, starting from the age of 14, gave Epstein nude massages and engaged in sexual acts with him from 2001 to 2004, and that the girl has recruited other people to offer erotic massages.

They previously accused Maxwell of helping Epstein recruit and care for three other girls to sexually abuse from 1994-1997.

Maxwell had pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges, which included two counts of perjury.

His trial is expected to begin on July 12, provided a courtroom is available and the judge rejects Maxwell’s offer for a month late. The perjury count would be handled separately in a second trial.

Friday’s hearing marked the first time Maxwell has publicly appeared in person since her arrest last July at her New Hampshire home, where prosecutors said she was in hiding. She has been jailed in Brooklyn since her arrest.

Maxwell wore a short-sleeved blue shirt and white mask, with dark hair reaching below her shoulders. She had appeared on video in her previous lawsuit.

Maxwell’s attorneys complained that he suffered from weight loss and hair loss in prison, which prosecutors denied.

Maxwell faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Nathan denied the rent three times, calling Maxwell a substantial flight risk. On Monday, Maxwell’s attorneys are expected to argue before the Manhattan Federal Appeals Court that the third bail denial should be overturned.

Epstein, 66, committed suicide in a Manhattan prison in August 2019, a month after being arrested on sex trafficking charges.

Objections

Maxwell’s attorneys have long complained about his inability to effectively prepare for a July 12 trial.

They cited the need to review “voluminous” amounts of evidence, accused prosecutors of being too slow in delivering materials, and said prison restrictions prevented Maxwell from properly preparing his defense.

Lawyers have also repeatedly questioned whether Maxwell can get a fair trial, most notably accusing the media of treating her as a “monster” because of the “Epstein effect”.

Prosecutors opposed any delay and pledged to make “significant efforts” to ensure that Maxwell was prepared for a July trial.

They said a delay would also harm the four alleged victims, saying two reported significant stress from the case and expressed a desire to go to trial.

Although no delay has been granted, the start of July 12 is not insured.

According to a court spokesman, only seven Manhattan courtrooms have been reconfigured for the COVID-19 pandemic to accommodate jury trials.

Defendants incarcerated in criminal cases get a higher priority for jury trials, but some defendants are ahead of Maxwell.

Nathan said that if the trial is not delayed, he wants the jury selection to begin as close to July 12 as possible.