Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to sex trafficking charges | News about sexual assault


Maxwell is accused of preparing and recruiting teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein to be sexually assaulted.

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

Maxwell, 59, argued through his attorney before U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan. The charges were included in an eight-count indictment released on March 29.

Prosecutors charged Maxwell with treating and paying for a girl who, from the age of 14, gave Epstein nude massages and engaged in sex acts with him from 2001 to 2004, and whom the girl had recruited other people to offer erotic massages.

They had previously accused Maxwell of helping Epstein recruit and prepare three other girls to be sexually abused from 1994 to 1997.

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

His trial is scheduled to begin on July 12, provided a courtroom is available and the judge rejects Maxwell’s offer for a period of several months. The counts of perjury would be dealt with separately in a second trial.

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

Maxwell wore a loose, short-sleeved blue shirt and a white mask, his black hair reaching below his shoulders. She had appeared on video during her previous arraignment.

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

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

Nathan has refusal of deposit three times, calling Maxwell a substantial risk of theft. On Monday, Maxwell’s attorneys are expected to argue in Manhattan’s Federal Court of Appeal that the third bail denial should be overturned.

Epstein, 66, committed suicide in a Manhattan jail in August 2019, a month after being arrested for sex trafficking.

Objections

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

They cited the need to examine “voluminous” amounts of evidence, accused prosecutors of being too slow to turn over the documents, and said prison restrictions prevented Maxwell from properly preparing his defense.

Lawyers have also repeatedly cast doubt on Maxwell’s ability to get a fair trial, in particular blaming the media for treating her like a “monster” because of the “Epstein Effect”.

Prosecutors opposed any delay and pledged to make “significant efforts” to ensure Maxwell is ready for trial in July.

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

Even if no delay has been granted, a departure on July 12 is not guaranteed.

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

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

Nathan said if the trial was not delayed, she wanted jury selection to begin as close to July 12 as possible.





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