Ghislaine Maxwell, the disgraced socialite and former girlfriend of deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges that allege she trafficked a 14-year-old girl for Epstein to abuse.
The two new trafficking charges were added to the indictment against Maxwell last month, bringing to eight the number of charges against her. At a brief hearing in New York on Friday, Maxwell pleaded not guilty.
The arraignment was Maxwell’s first time in person before the court since she was arrested last July. She has been denied bail, though her lawyers have repeatedly challenged this refusal, claiming that Maxwell is being held in unduly harsh conditions. Her Brooklyn jail sits just across the East River from the Manhattan facility where Epstein died in August 2019, in a suspicious death ruled a suicide.
According to the new charges, Maxwell allegedly called the 14-year-old girl to schedule sexual encounters with Epstein at his Palm Beach mansion and paid her hundreds of dollars in cash for each trip. The accused “sought to normalize inappropriate behavior and abusive conduct by, among other things, discussing sexual topics in front of (the victim) and being present when (the victim) was nude in the massage room of the Palm Beach residence,” the updated indictment said.
In addition to the sex trafficking charges, Maxwell is accused of conspiracy to entice minors, conspiracy to transport minors, and perjury. She faces 80 years behind bars if found guilty on all counts.
Though Maxwell’s lawyers have repeatedly attempted to delay the start of her trial, Judge Alison Nathan said on Friday that "everyone should assume” a start date in July, without making a ruling on that issue.
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