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Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to superseding federal indictment

ABC News
ABC News
 2021-04-24

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Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty on Friday to an eight-count superseding indictment alleging that she aided and conspired with Epstein in the sexual abuse of minors.

The new indictment adds a fourth alleged female victim to existing charges and substantially expands the timeframe of her alleged facilitation of Epstein's abuse, which now includes four victims from 1994 to 2004. Epstein was facing sex-trafficking charges when he died by suicide in jail in 2019.

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Patrick McMullan via Getty Images, FILE - PHOTO: Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend a concert at Cipriani Wall Street in New York, March 15, 2005.

The indictment also alleges that Maxwell committed perjury during two civil depositions in 2016.

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This was Maxwell's first in-person court appearance. In a federal courtroom in Manhattan, the 59-year-old's eyes appeared sunken, her arms frail and her hair -- once dark and cut short -- appeared to fall beneath her shoulders and be graying at the roots.

She affirmed she understood the superseding indictment and waived its public reading.

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Two U.S. Marshals sat behind her, springing up from their seats when she stood to leave. Maxwell paused, removed her mask, drank from a bottle of water and was led back to jail.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan did not rule Friday on the question of whether the trial will proceed as scheduled on July 12.

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Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images, FILE - PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell attends a symposium in New York, Sept. 20, 2013.

Maxwell's lawyers are seeking a continuance of the trial until the fall or winter to allow them time to investigate and prepare for the new allegations. The government opposes the delay, citing, among other reasons, the stress on the alleged victims ahead of the trial.

Nathan said she'll give an answer on the trial date soon, but she advised both parties to continue preparing for the scheduled trial date.

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Defense attorneys also have claimed Maxwell has been mistreated while incarcerated. In a February filing, Maxwell said she was "withering" from conditions she described as needlessly harsh and in one instance she'd been "physically abused" during a pat-down by guards. Her bail requests have been denied multiple times.

"She's looking forward to fighting," Maxwell's family attorney, David Markus, said outside court Friday. "She has been treated horribly."

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