Ghislaine Maxwell made a rare appearance in a New York City courthouse on Friday, when she pleaded not guilty to two new charges of sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl allegedly for Jeffrey Epstein to abuse at his house in Palm Beach, Florida, between 2001 and 2004.
Maxwell, 59, has been under detention in a federal prison in Brooklyn since she was first charged in July 2020. She appeared in-person for the first time to the Manhattan courthouse, where she wore her hair down and appeared thin and weak.
Epstein’s alleged madam wore blue prison-issued clothing and sneakers as she sat flanked by attorneys. Her ankles were shackled, but her hands were not cuffed.
She spoke only when prompted Friday, telling the judge, “Yes, your honor” and “I have, your honor,” before one of her lawyers entered the not guilty plea on her behalf.
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Maxwell’s sister, Isabel Maxwell, was present in the courtroom for the hearing, as well as 34-year-old Danielle Bensky, who is one of Epstein’s alleged victims and is not involved in Maxwell’s case. She waved at some audience members as she was escorted out.
U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan told the court she is “considering” delaying the trial, which is slated to begin in July, but advised the legal teams to plan to be ready for the previously scheduled start unless instructed otherwise.
Maxwell, 59, is charged with lying under oath and recruiting, grooming and trafficking girls to be sexually abused by Epstein from the 1990s through 2004.
In total, she now faces eight charges: conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts; enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts; conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor, both of which are new; and two counts of perjury.
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In a recent court order, Nathan ruled in favor of Maxwell, agreeing to sever the two perjury counts for which she is accused to instead be tried at a later date.
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Maxwell faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges of sex trafficking.
This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.
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