Ghislaine Maxwell, the long-time confidante of Jeffrey Epstein, has pleaded not guilty to charges of supplying the late financier and convicted sex offender with underage girls for trafficking and abuse.
“Not guilty, your honor,” Maxwell told Judge Alison Nathan at Manhattan federal court on Tuesday. She then waived the public reading of her indictment. The British socialite appeared at the hearing via video from the Brooklyn jail where she is currently held.
Maxwell’s lawyers have argued that the media is “wrongly trying to substitute her for Epstein — even though she’d had no contact with Epstein for more than a decade, had never been charged with a crime or been found liable in any civil litigation, and has always denied any allegations of claimed misconduct.”
The socialite has been held without bail since her arrest on July 2 at her secret estate in New Hampshire. Prosecutors say she is an “extreme” flight risk and should not be released on the $5 million bail her defense has suggested.
“The defendant has not only the motive to flee, but the means to do so swiftly and effectively,” prosecutors wrote in the court papers, citing Maxwell’s wealth and the documented history of her international connections.
The judge denied bail and ordered her detention, with the trial set for 12 July 2021.
Maxwell “vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” her lawyers declared.
She is charged with six criminal counts and accused of “identifying, befriending and grooming” at least three underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 1997.
Epstein died last August in a New York jail where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was officially ruled a suicide, though intense speculation has surrounded the circumstances, with many suggesting foul play. Earlier this week, the Daily Mail claimed that Maxwell was being moved between cells to “avoid assassins.”
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