Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to new sex trafficking charges

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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. 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 attorneys entered the not guilty plea on her behalf. 

Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing where she was denied bail for her role aiding Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and eventually abuse of minor girls, in Manhattan Federal Court, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. July 14, 2020 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)
(REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

Maxwell’s sister, Isabel Maxwell, and an unnamed alleged victim were present in the courtroom for the hearing. She waved at some audience members as she was escorted out. 

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.  

In a recent court order, U.S. District Judge Alison J. 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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