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British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell reportedly pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that she helped recruit young girls for Jeffrey Epstein in a twisted child sex trafficking operation that began over 25 years ago.
The court hearing took place via video conference less than two weeks after law enforcement officials announced that FBI officers had arrested her on “Epstein-related charges.”
Maxwell was dressed in “brownish inmate fatigues” in the hearing video, with her “hair pulled back into what appeared to be a bun,” according to Bloomberg, as she “addressed the judge softly and politely,” and “was largely impassive as prosecutors arguing against bail described her as a ‘predator.'”
Maxwell was arrested and charged earlier this month, just shy of a year after Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.
FBI agents founder her at a secluded estate in New Hampshire, where she was living “a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted on them years ago,” Bill Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, told The Daily Beast. She reportedly refused to open the door, and was discovered in an interior room with a cellphone wrapped in foil in an attempt to shield her location.
Maxwell was indicted on charges of perjury and conspiracy for helping Epstein “recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse” young female victims between 1994 and 1997, according to USA Today. If convicted, she could spend 35 years behind bars.
Dan Kaiser, a lawyer for one of Epstein’s survivors, told The Guardian that Maxwell “provided important administrative services in terms of the hiring of recruiters, and management of those employees, the making of appointments and dates for interactions between Mr. Epstein and the underage girls that were providing sexual services to him. She also maintained the ring by intimidating girls, by ensuring their silence.”
Maxwell claims she had no idea any of Epstein’s crimes. In a complaint filed against Epstein’s estate, she said she “had no involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged misconduct.”
According to The Daily Beast, her trial is set for July 12, 2021, and will take two weeks, plus another week for jury selection.
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