Ghislaine Maxwell Pleads Not Guilty In Epstein Sex Trafficking Ring, Ordered Held Without Bond
Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend and longtime associate, has pleaded not guilty in the Epstein sex trafficking case. A federal judge ordered that Maxwell be held without bond on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan said Maxwell poses “a substantial risk of flight” in response to the order, given Maxwell’s immense wealth and international connections and because she is facing a maximum of 35 years in prison if convicted on the worst charges against her.
Nathan added that her “risk of flight is too great” and electronic monitoring, as well as private security guards, would be “insufficient” in ensuring Maxwell doesn’t escape.
Maxwell’s trial date has been set for July 12, 2021. She is therefore likely to spend at least a year held in a New York federal detention center.
Maxwell’s arraignment in a Manhattan federal court marked her first formal response to the criminal charges made against her earlier this month. Her arraignment was staged by a video conference as COVID-19 concerns continue.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe, added to concerns that Maxwell’s risk of flight is extremely high. Moe stated that at the time of her arrest Maxwell was “living in hiding” which posed “serious concerns that the defendant would flee if afforded the opportunity.”
Maxwell’s lawyers have argued for her release on a $5 million bond secured by properties in the U.S. and Great Britain. Her attorney Mark Cohen also stated that his client had not sought to leave the country and that prosecutors had exaggerated Maxwell’s wealth.
Maxwell was arrested and charged earlier this month after almost a year since Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial in a New York federal detention center. A New York federal grand jury indicted her on perjury and conspiracy charges accusing her of helping Epstein “recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims” under the age of 18 and as young as 14 between 1994 and 1997.
Since Maxwell’s arrest, more witnesses have stepped forward providing information about Maxwell. Prosecutors stated, “The Government is in the process of receiving and reviewing this additional evidence, which has the potential to make the Government’s case even stronger.”