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Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty this week to various child sex trafficking charges and was denied bail after asking a judge to release her ahead of her trial.
Maxwell, 58, was arrested earlier this month in New Hampshire and was charged with enticing a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity and transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, among other things, prosecutors previously announced in a press release. The British socialite is alleged to have aided late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in the sexual abuse of young girls; she is also alleged to have played a pivotal role in securing young girls for sex with other powerful men, including Prince Andrew, who has denied such claims.
Maxwell appeared in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, entering her plea remotely via video from a federal holding facility in Brooklyn, CNBC reports.
Maxwell’s lawyers had asked that she be released on a $5 million bond. While her lawyers claim that she isn’t a flight risk, prosecutors argued against her release, alleging in court documents filed Monday that Maxwell’s behavior before her arrest prove their point. When federal agents arrived at a private residence in Bradford on July 2 to arrest Maxwell, her first reaction was to flee, according to NBC News.
“The agents saw the defendant ignore the direction to open the door and, instead, try to flee to another room in the house, quickly shutting a door behind her,” court documents read.
Agents were able to get inside and arrest Maxwell after forcing open the door, according to the outlet. But when searching the home, they found a cellphone wrapped in aluminum foil sitting on a desk, which they say was a “seemingly misguided effort to evade detection” by law enforcement, according to NBC News.
Maxwell is “skilled at living in hiding,” prosecutors concluded. They also argued that Maxwell has more access to extreme wealth than she has been forthcoming about, citing the alleged existence of a Swiss bank trust housing $4 million, among other accounts.
Prosecutors also pointed out that Maxwell is a French citizen; because France does not extradite their citizens to the U.S., Maxwell could safely hide from justice there if given the chance, CNBC reports.
The judge agreed with the prosecutors and denied her bail.
“The risk is simply too great” for Maxwell to be released on bail, Judge Allison Nathan said, according to CNBC.
Maxwell has maintained her innocence and has referred to some of the allegations against her as “absolute rubbish,” according to the Associated Press. However, prosecutors say that she “facilitated, aided, and participated” in the sexual abuse of numerous minor girls between 1994 and 1997, if not longer; in some cases, the alleged victims were as young as 14 years old.
“As alleged, Ghislaine Maxwell facilitated, aided, and participated in acts of sexual abuse of minors. Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, and then delivered them into the trap that she and Jeffrey Epstein had set,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said. “She pretended to be a woman they could trust. All the while, she was setting them up to be abused sexually by Epstein and, in some cases, Maxwell herself. Today, after many years, Ghislaine Maxwell finally stands charged for her role in these crimes.”
Maxwell’s trial is slated to begin on July 21 and is expected to last three weeks, according to CNBC.
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