Ex-Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to sex trafficking charges

Ex-Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to sex trafficking charges
© Getty Images

Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein in his sex trafficking of minors, on Friday pleaded not guilty to two recent charges in connection with the case. 

The British socialite appeared before a New York judge in person for the first time Friday, where she entered a not guilty plea for a sex trafficking conspiracy charge, as well as an additional sex trafficking charge, which were both added to a sweeping indictment late last month. 

Maxwell now faces eight counts in connection with allegedly helping carry out a sex trafficking scheme by close confidant and one-time boyfriend Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial in jail in August 2019. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Maxwell was previously charged with four counts related to conspiracy to entice minors to travel and engage in illegal sex acts and two counts of perjury for allegedly lying to prosecutors.

The 59-year-old had pleaded not guilty to the previous charges, as well. 

The Associated Press reported that Maxwell’s lawyers on Friday attempted to argue that they needed additional time to prepare their defense as a result of the new charges. Maxwell’s trial is currently scheduled for a July 12 start date. 

However, prosecutors have pushed back on this request, arguing that the new charges only relate to a single victim in addition to the three victims already included in the case. 

The judge Friday said that she wants to avoid a delayed trial, but did not announce any official decision on the matter. 

One of Maxwell’s attorneys had requested an in-person hearing Friday citing “media coverage” and a “debacle” that occurred during a remote hearing for another related civil case. 

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the AP, the lawyer said that members of the public had crowded a line provided by the court for people to listen to the remote hearing.  

The original indictment filed against Maxwell accused her of participating in a series of illegal actions from 1994 to 1997, with the most recent indictment adding additional instances of alleged criminal activity between 2001 and 2004. 

The fourth victim recently added to the case, who was 14 years old at the time of the alleged activities, was recruited  to “provide Epstein with sexualized massages” at his Palm Beach residence and was paid by Epstein or his associates, including Maxwell, according to the indictment. 

Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of encouraging the victims “to engage in sexual acts with Epstein through multiple means,” despite allegedly knowing that the victims were under 18. 

Last month, Maxwell was denied bail for a third time after prosecutors argued that she continued to pose an “extreme flight risk.”