Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to new sex trafficking charges as lawyer complains about jail treatment: 'It's the Epstein effect'

Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty Friday to two sex trafficking charges that were added to her indictment by prosecutors last month.

Maxwell spoke just 12 words in the arraignment, telling the judge she was aware of the new charges and waiving the public reading of them before her lawyers entered the not guilty plea.

The two counts — sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy — are for allegedly recruiting an unidentified underage girl for the late financial adviser and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.

“Epstein and Maxwell recruited Minor Victim-4 to engage in sex acts with Epstein at the Palm Beach Residence, after which Epstein and, at times, Maxwell provided Minor Victim-4 with hundreds of dollars in cash for each encounter,” the indictment states.

Epstein killed himself in 2019 in jail as he awaited trial.

It was Maxwell’s first appearance inside a Manhattan federal court since she was arrested by federal agents last year for allegedly procuring underage girls for Epstein. Her last court appearance, which was done via video remote, was illegally streamed on YouTube by QAnon supporters.

Federal charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are announced during a press conference in New York City, July 2, 2020. (Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)
Federal charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are announced at a press conference in New York City on July 2, 2020. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

The 59-year-old British socialite has been held without bail in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center since her arrest at a New Hampshire estate last year. She has been repeatedly denied bail, which her lawyers have appealed, citing poor conditions inside the facility. A hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on the judge’s order denying bail is set for Monday.

“[Maxwell] is in very, very, very difficult conditions, conditions none of us would wish on our worst enemies,” David Markus, an attorney for Maxwell’s family, told reporters outside the courthouse following Friday’s arraignment. “It’s the Epstein effect. She’s being treated horribly because of the negligence of what happened. She’s not suicidal. She shouldn’t be treated like this. And it’s not fair and it’s not right.”

Her trial is tentatively set for July 12, though her lawyers have argued it will take months of additional preparation because of the new charges. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan said she is still considering a motion to delay the trial until fall.

“[Maxwell] is looking forward to that trial,” Markus said. “She’s looking forward to fighting and she will fight.”


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