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Ghislaine Maxwell: Socialite is called ‘courageous’ and ‘tough’ by lawyers as she pleads not guilty

Follow the latest updates from the inside and out of the courtroom

Justin Vallejo
Friday 23 April 2021 16:39

Watch live as Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers arrive at court

Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty to new indictments during her first in-person court appearance since being arrested on sex trafficking charges.

While she had previously faced the court via video link from the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Centre, today marked the first live appearance in a US District Court in lower Manhattan.

The new indictment, which adds a victim and extends the timeframe of the charge, supersedes the previous charges that Ms Maxwell had also pleaded not guilty to.

The brief exchange took roughly 15 to 20 minutes. Ms Maxwell’s sister was in the courtroom, but her two brothers remained in England due to Covid travel restrictions.

Defence attorney David Markus said outside the court that a "courageous and tough" Ms Maxwell was looking forward to the trial so she could fight.

"She’s hanging in there, it’s not easy," Mr Markus told reporters. "I’ve never seen anything like how she’s being treated. It’s the Epstein effect. It’s the Epstein effect. She’s been treated horribly because of the negligence and what happened to Jeffrey Epstein."

One of Epstein’s victims said after the appearance that it was “incredibly vindicating” to see Maxwell sitting in court for the first time.

The unnamed survivor, who appeared with her lawyers David Boies and Sigrid McCawley, said she was too afraid to sit through Epstein’s appearance.

“This is a new feeling for me to sit there and accept a lot. It’s hard to sit through it, and it’s painful, but it’s good too. It’s healing,” she said.

Her lawyer, Mr Boies, said Epstein’s victims were looking forward to a trial. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

“Everybody felt like they were cheated by Mr Epstein’s death, I think that everyone was looking forward by holding him to account in a court of law," he said. “I think now, that Ms Maxwell is going to go to trial, I think that is something that they’re looking forward to.”

Federal judge Alison Nathan did not rule out delaying the 12 July start date of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, which the defence wants to postpone until the fall or winter for time to review evidence.

Without ruling on the motion to delay the start date, Ms Nathan said "everyone should assume that it’s July” unless they hear otherwise.

She urged prosecutors to provide disclosures to the defence seven weeks before trial – or 24 May - the allow time to prepared.

“There’s a lot to do for everyone and we’ll get it done,” Ms Nathan said.

Read more:


What does Qanon have to do with Ghislaine Maxwell appearing in person today?

That is not a series of typos.

Ghislaine Maxwell demanded an in-person hearing after her last court livestream ended in a “debacle” choreographed by QAnon supporters.

The January stream was reportedly illegally streamed on YouTube with the live chat become a hive for the conspiracy supporters.

“As counsel has notified the government, Ms Maxwell is requesting an in-person arraignment. She will not waive that right, most especially in light of media coverage and the debacle that occurred during a remote proceeding in a related civil case before Judge Preska,” said her lawyers in a court filing, according to Newsweek.

Graeme Massie has the story.

Ghislaine Maxwell demands in-person hearing after QAnon hijack livestream

British socialite accused of grooming 14-year-old girl for Jeffrey Epstein

Justin Vallejo22 April 2021 17:00

Ghislaine Maxwell appears in court

Hello and welcome toThe Independent’s live coverage of Ghislaine Maxwell appearing in court - in person - for the fist time since her arrest on sex-trafficking charges.

Justin Vallejo23 April 2021 16:40

The life of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged accomplice

Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of British newspaper baron Robert Maxwell and his French wife Elisabeth, was born in affluent Maisons-Laffitte in northern France on Christmas Day 1961, the youngest of nine children, writes The Independent’s Joe Sommerlad.

“Just two days later, her teenage brother Michael was involved in a car accident that would keep him in a prolonged coma until his death in 1967, a tragedy that marked the family. Ghislaine and her siblings were raised in Oxford at the Maxwells’ Headington Hill Hall home, a sprawling mansion that also served as the headquarters for their father’s Pergamon Press publishing outfit, which, at 14, Ghislaine would help by learning to programme a new suite of Wang computers her father had introduced in 1973 as part of a modernising initiative.”

Catch up with the life and times of Maxwell before today’s court appearance.

Ghislaine Maxwell: The life of the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking

Socialite daughter of late British press baron awaiting trial in New York jail after being accused of procuring and grooming underage girls for billionaire paedophile ex-boyfriend

Justin Vallejo23 April 2021 17:10

Ghislaine Maxwell’s request to delay trial causes ‘significant’ stress for victims, prosecutors say

Prosecutors told a federal judge that Maxwell’s request to delay the 12 July start date so her defence can review thousands of photos has placed an “enormous amount of stress” on the victims.

A whopping 1.2 million documents have been turned over to the defence team in discovery, including “highly confidential images”.

Maxwell’s lawyers asked to delay the start of the trial and break it up into two hearings for separate charges – the first being on sex-trafficking charges and the other on allegations of lying under oath.

In a new brief submitted Thursday to oppose the delay, Assistant US Attorney Maureen Comey wrote there’s no need to delay the first charges after separating from perjury, according to Law & Crime.

“The longer this case remains pending, the longer the victims suffer the anxiety of anticipating their trial testimony and the uncertainty of awaiting a resolution,” the brief states.

“In particular, Minor Victim-3 expressed feeling significant stress during the pendency of this case and a strong desire to have the case brought to a close through trial as soon as possible. Similarly, Minor Victim-2 also indicated that she has experienced an enormous amount of stress while this case has been pending, wishes to see the case brought to trial.”

Justin Vallejo23 April 2021 17:45

‘She’s no flight risk’, says Ghislaine Maxwell’s family ahead of court appearance

The brothers and sisters of Ghislaine Maxwell have launched the website to show the view of their family.

Ahead of her first in-person appearance in court today, they said on Twitter that Maxwell is “no flight risk, she won’t run”.

The judge in the case has so far refused to release Maxwell on bail, despite multiple attempts from her lawyers to remove her from poor prison conditions.

Justin Vallejo23 April 2021 18:05

Ghislaine Maxwell sues publisher of Jeffrey Epstein book for presenting her 'as already guilty’

The family of Ghislaine Maxwell announced she has launched legal action in the Paris courts against the publisher of a new book on Jeffrey Epstein, L'île de tous les vices, or “Vice Island”.

Written by French author Jean-Gabriel Fredet and published on 3 March by Albin Michel, the suit alleges the book is a gross violation of the presumption of her innocence.

Maxwell’s lawyer, Olivier Laude said in a press release they would seek damages for the prejudice suffered to make “an example of” Albin Michel to deter other media around the world from believing they can “proceed thus with impunity against her”.

“The publication of this book by Albin Michel constitutes an unacceptable attack on the presumption of innocence of Ms Maxwell. Given the imminence of her criminal trial, to present her as already guilty - which this book does - is as repugnant as it is irresponsible,” Mr Laude said.

Justin Vallejo23 April 2021 18:42

Watch: Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers arrive at court

Follow live with The Independent.

Watch live as Ghislaine Maxwell faces court for first time since arrest
Justin Vallejo23 April 2021 19:06

Protests outside court as lawyers arrive and hearing begins

Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell arrived at court to find protesters gathered outside the Southern District court.

Family members of Maxwell are also in the courtroom.

See the arrival below.

Justin Vallejo23 April 2021 19:43

Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to new indictments

The British socialite has entered a not guilty plea to new indictments on sex-trafficking charges. She had previously pleaded not guilty, and has now formally entered the same not guilty plea for second superseding indictment.

The judge presiding said she is considering the defence’s request to move the trial to the fall or winter.

But she said unless hearing otherwise, counsel should assume jury selection will go forward as close as possible to the currently scheduled 12 July trial date.

Justin Vallejo23 April 2021 19:45

The court has adjourned

After entering a not guilty plea on new indictments, the first in-person appearance of Ghislaine Maxwell ended within roughly 20 minutes.

“There’s a lot to do for everyone and we’ll get it done,” said judge Alison Nathan.

Media is set up outside the court hoping for comment from either the defence or prosecution.

Justin Vallejo23 April 2021 19:51

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