Law & the Courts

Ghislaine Maxwell Pleads Not Guilty to Jeffrey Epstein Related Sex Abuse Charges

Members of the news media gather outside Manhattan Federal Court, during the arraignment hearing of Ghislaine Maxwell in New York, July 14, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges she recruited and groomed girls for the financier to sexually abuse more than two decades ago. 

The 58-year-old British socialite is charged with recruiting at least three girls, one as young as 14, in the mid 90s, and has been held without bail since her July 2 arrest.

She appeared in a video court hearing from the Metropolitian Detention Center Tuesday where a judge scheduled her trial to begin on July 12, 2021.

Maxwell helped groom the victims to endure, and was sometimes present for, Epstein’s sexual abuse, an indictment alleges. She also allegedly lied during a 2016 deposition in a civil case that arose from Epstein’s alleged abuse of girls and women.

Epstein killed himself in August 2019 while awaiting sex trafficking charges that alleged he abused girls at his Manhattan and Florida mansions in the early 2000s.

Lawyers for Maxwell requested that she be released on $5 million bond, but prosecutors, who called her an extreme flight risk, want her detained without bail, CNBC reported. 

Prosecutors say Maxwell has more than $10 million in assets, including at least $4 million in a Swiss bank account, Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown reported

Defendant has ‘significant and unexplained wealth.’’ And she has declined to provide a significant account of her finances,” Brown continued.

Prosecutors also expressed concern that one of the three countries where Maxwell holds citizenship is France, which does not extradite its own citizens on criminal charges. 

“Ms. Maxwell vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” her lawyers, Mark Cohen and Jeffrey Pagliuca, wrote in a court filing last week.

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