Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to sex trafficking charges

Ghislaine Maxwell trial on sex-trafficking charges delayed to the fall

New charges require ‘substantial amount of discovery that is now potentially relevant’, the court says

Justin Vallejo
New York
Monday 03 May 2021 23:52
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The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell on allegations of trafficking teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein has been postponed to the fall.

In delaying the previously scheduled start from 12 July, US District Judge Alison Nathan said the move was appropriate due to new charges being added in March and the Covid-19 pandemic hindering trial preparations.

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

Her defence team requested the postponement as the new indictment, which added a victim and extended the timeframe of the allegations, superseded the previous charges, to which Ms Maxwell also pleaded not guilty.

The court ruled against the defence’s request to delay until January 2022, but agreed that the additional charges and increased time frame of the alleged conspiracy required “a substantial amount of discovery that is now potentially relevant”.

Prosecutors had opposed the delay, arguing it was unnecessary as the defence had successfully split the charges into two trials, one on the sex-trafficking allegations and the other on whether she committed perjury by denying them while under oath.

“As the government indicated in explaining the delay in filing the new charges, travel constraints and other safety concerns resulting from the pandemic have slowed trial preparation and complicated the logistics of conducting investigations,” Ms Nathan added in the ruling.

In ruling that the adjournment be no longer than necessary, she noted that Ms Maxwell remains detained pre-trial.

The court has denied several requests for bail by Ms Maxwell’s defence team ahead of the trial start date, with attorney Bobbi Sternheim writing in a court filing she is being deprived of sleep, along with a photo showing an unexplained black eye.

Attorney David Markus said previously that Ms Maxwell was “hanging in there” but was suffering the “Epstein effect” of being constantly monitored by wellness checks.

"I’ve never seen anything like how she’s being treated. It’s the Epstein effect. It’s the Epstein effect. She’ been treated horribly because of the negligence and what happened to Jeffrey Epstein."

Ms Nathan ordered both prosecutors and defence counsel to propose a fall trial date by next Monday, 10 May.

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