Ghislaine Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to new sex trafficking charges against her in her first court appearance since her arrest in summer 2020. The former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein wore a dark blue prison outfit with her ankles shackled as she entered the courtroom on Friday, April 23, CNN reports. She spoke only to waive her reading of the indictment and her lawyer informed the judge of Maxwell’s intention to enter a not guilty plea.#
Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to sex-trafficking charges, making first court appearance since arrest https://t.co/lj3d0LU4sL
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 24, 2021
- Those who were allowed in the room said Maxwell looked quite different. According to reports, Maxwell wore a mask for the duration of the court appearance except when drinking from a bottle of water. Her hair was much longer than many remembered, falling below her shoulders with grayed roots.
- The plea was being entered in response to new charges. Just last month, federal prosecutors filed sex trafficking and conspiracy charges after she allegedly recruited and groomed a 14-year-old girl to have sex with Epstein as recently as 2004 and paid her hundreds of dollars to do so. These charges were particularly significant as it claimed more recent illegal conduct than the earlier charges.
- She already faced very serious criminal charges. Last summer, prosecutors in New York filed charges against Maxwell for conspiracy and enticing minors to travel to take part in illegal sex acts. She was also charged with the transportation of minors to engage in criminal sexual activity as well as grooming, recruiting, and abusing underage girls between the years of 1994 and 1997. Unsurprisingly, she also pleaded guilty to these earlier charges.
- Maxwell herself requested the in-person arraignment. The court appearance, while brief, drew the presence of one of Epstein’s accusers as well as Maxwell’s sister. This is likely the first time the latter had seen one another since Maxwell was arrested in July 2020 and taken to Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
- The trial is currently set for July. However, Maxwell has requested a delay of that trial which a judge has not yet agreed to or denied.