Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to charges of luring girls for Jeffrey Epstein

Judge denies bail to Ms Maxwell and orders her detention

Ghislaine Maxwell has been charged for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein. Reuters
Ghislaine Maxwell has been charged for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein. Reuters

Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's long-time associate charged with luring young girls so the late financier could sexually abuse them, pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.

US District Judge Alison Nathan rejected Ms Maxwell's bid for bail after prosecutors called the wealthy socialite an extreme flight risk.

Prosecutors have accused her of helping Epstein to recruit and eventually abuse girls between 1994 and 1997, and lying about her role during depositions in 2016.

Ms Maxwell, 58, was charged with six criminal counts, including four related to transporting minors for illegal sexual acts and two for perjury.

The judge ordered her to be detained without bail, siding with prosecutors who called her an "extreme" flight risk because of her wealth and American, French and British citizenships.

Ms Maxwell's lawyers sought a bail package including a $5 million (Dh18.3m) bond and home confinement with electronic monitoring.

"Not guilty, your honour," she said after the judge asked how she wished to plead.

She waived the public reading of the indictment

Ms Maxwell appeared by video from the Brooklyn jail in which she is being held. She had her hair pulled back and was wearing a brown T-shirt and tortoiseshell glasses.

Epstein's former girlfriend and longtime associate was arrested on July 2 in Bradford, New Hampshire, where authorities said she was hiding at a 63-hectare property for which she paid cash in December, protecting her identity.

Ms Maxwell has been held since July 6 at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn.

Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty to all counts. PA/AP
Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty to all counts. PA/AP

Epstein, 66, was charged in July 2019 with sexually exploiting dozens of girls and women from 2002 to 2005 at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.

He died by what was claimed to be suicide on August 10 in a Manhattan jail.

Prosecutors accused Ms Maxwell of luring girls as young as 14 by asking them about their lives, schools and families, and taking them shopping or to movies.

They said those acts served as "the prequel" to Epstein's abuse.

The financier has been linked socially to powerful figures including President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew.

Lawyers for Ms Maxwell said bail was justified because she might contract Covid-19 in jail.

They said she moved to the New Hampshire property and changed her phone and email address to escape "unrelenting and intrusive media coverage".

Prosecutors said on Monday that when FBI agents went to arrest Ms Maxwell, they had to forcibly enter her home, where she hid in a room, and found a mobile phone wrapped in tin foil in an apparent effort to hide it.

Ms Maxwell also used former British military personnel to guard her in New Hampshire, prosecutors said.

Her lawyers have previewed Ms Maxwell's possible defences.

These include that her alleged misconduct occurred long ago and would be hard to prosecute, and that she was protected by Epstein's 2007 plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Miami, which covered "any potential co-conspirators".

Updated: July 15, 2020 02:41 AM

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