Jeffrey Epstein Associate Ghislaine Maxwell Pleads Not Guilty In Sex Crimes Case
A New York City judge has set a trial date and denied the British socialite’s request for bail.
Image of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the press conference in New York City where US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, announced charges against Maxwell, July 2, 2020. [Photo: Johannes Eisele/Getty]
Appearing via video for her arraignment and bail hearing on Tuesday, Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty to charges she conspired with late billionaire predator Jeffrey Epstein to sexually exploit at least three underage females.
Prosecutors claimed in an indictment that between at least 1994 through 1997, Maxwell, 58, “assisted, facilitated and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein's abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse” females as young as 14.
One unnamed alleged victim claimed in a written statement provided to the court in advance of the July 14 hearing that Maxwell “encouraged” Epstein’s abuse and “thought it was funny.”
“I have great fear she will seek to silence those in support of her prosecution,” she wrote, claiming Maxwell had threatened harm to the woman’s 2-year-old child.
“If [Ghislaine] is out, I need to be protected,” the alleged victim insisted.
During the hearing, a Manhattan federal court judge set Maxwell’s trial date for July 12, 2021, and denied the British socialite’s request for bail, ruling that even the “most restrictive” bail requirements were “insufficient,” 1010 WINS reported.
In court papers filed July 9, Maxwell’s attorneys had argued for her release on $5 million bond pending trial. They claimed she was not a flight risk and had not been in contact with convicted sex offender Epstein for over 10 years before the 66-year-old reportedly hanged himself in his cell at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center in August 2019.
Federal prosecutors countered that Maxwell, a multimillionaire who has citizenship in the United States, Britain and France, posed “an extreme risk of flight.”
Court documents filed Monday and obtained by The New York Times shed more light on details related to Maxwell’s recent arrest and prosecutors’ concerns she would flee the country.
Maxwell allegedly refused to answer her door and ran to another part of the house when FBI agents announced themselves on July 2 at the 156-acre New Hampshire property she had holed up in since winter.
Agents forcibly entered Maxwell’s home during the raid and conducted a search, which turned up a cellphone the government alleged had been wrapped in tin foil in “a seemingly misguided effort to evade detection.”
“As these facts make plain, there should be no question that the defendant is skilled at living in hiding,” prosecutors wrote in the legal documents, according to the Times.
Previously, Maxwell’s attorneys had insisted she was only trying to escape “unrelenting and intrusive media coverage” in the year following Epstein’s July 2019 arrest on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. “Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein,” the defense wrote in court documents.
The British socialite faces up to 35 years in prison if she’s found guilty on six counts, including charges of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and perjury. Maxwell has vehemently denied her involvement in illegal or improper conduct related to Epstein.
She will remain behind bars until her trial.
Read more: BBC