© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell seems by way of video hyperlink throughout her arraignment listening to in Manhattan Federal Court docket in New York
By Jonathan Stempel and Karen Freifeld
NEW YORK (Reuters) – British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not responsible on Friday to federal intercourse trafficking expenses within the U.S. case accusing her of serving to the late financier Jeffrey Epstein recruit and sexually abuse women.
Maxwell, 59, entered her plea by way of her lawyer earlier than U.S. District Decide Alison Nathan in Manhattan. The costs had been included in an eight-count indictment unveiled on March 29.
Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of grooming and paying a woman who, beginning at age 14, gave Epstein nude massages and engaged in intercourse acts with him from 2001 to 2004, and that the woman recruited others to supply erotic massages.
They beforehand had charged Maxwell with serving to Epstein recruit and groom three different women for him to sexually abuse from 1994 to 1997.
Maxwell had pleaded not responsible to the sooner expenses, which included two perjury counts.
Her trial is scheduled to start on July 12, supplied a courtroom is accessible and the decide rejects Maxwell’s for a months-long delay. The perjury counts could be dealt with individually in a second trial.
Friday’s listening to marked the primary time Maxwell has publicly appeared in individual since her arrest final July at her dwelling in New Hampshire, the place prosecutors stated she had been hiding out. She has been jailed in Brooklyn since her arrest.
Maxwell wore a loose-fitting, blue short-sleeve shirt and white face masks, along with her darkish hair reaching under her shoulders. She had appeared by video in her prior arraignment.
Legal professionals for Maxwell have complained that she has suffered from weight and hair loss in jail, which prosecutors have denied.
Maxwell faces as much as 80 years in jail if convicted on all expenses.
Nathan has denied bail thrice, calling Maxwell a considerable flight danger. On Monday, Maxwell’s attorneys are anticipated to argue earlier than the federal appeals court docket in Manhattan that the third bail denial needs to be overturned.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019, one month after being arrested on intercourse trafficking expenses.
Maxwell’s attorneys have lengthy complained about her incapability to organize successfully for a July 12 trial.
They’ve cited the necessity to evaluate “voluminous” quantities of proof, blamed prosecutors for being too gradual to show over supplies, and stated jail restrictions have impeded Maxwell from adequately making ready her protection.
The attorneys have additionally repeatedly forged doubt on whether or not Maxwell can get a good trial, specifically faulting the media for treating her as a “monster” due to the “Epstein impact.”
Prosecutors have opposed any delay, and pledged to make “important efforts” to make sure that Maxwell was ready for a July trial.
They stated a delay would additionally hurt the 4 alleged victims, saying two have reported important stress from the case and expressed a want to go to trial.
Even when no delay have been granted, a July 12 begin just isn’t assured.
Solely seven courtrooms within the Manhattan courthouse have been reconfigured for the COVID-19 pandemic to accommodate jury trials, based on a court docket spokesman.
Jailed defendants in prison circumstances get increased precedence for jury trials, however some defendants are forward of Maxwell.
Nathan stated that if the trial just isn’t delayed, she desires jury choice to start as shut as doable to July 12.