Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell slapped with fresh sex trafficking charges

Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell slapped with fresh sex trafficking charges”

Federal prosecutors on Monday expanded the criminal case against Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's longtime confidant, charging her for the first time with sex trafficking.

Federal attorneys filed a superseding indictment in a NY court adding counts of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor, bringing the number of charges Maxwell faces to eight.

It is unclear whether the new charges could lead to a postponement of Maxwell's scheduled July 12 trial before U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan, though prosecutors said Maxwell should have "ample time" to prepare.

She had been previously charged by NY federal prosecutors with conspiracy and enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and the transportation of minors to engage in criminal sexual activity for allegedly grooming and recruiting underage girls from 1994 through 1997.

Ms Maxwell is accused of recruiting an underage girl for sex with Epstein at his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Maxwell has also appealed against the bail rejections.

Maxwell has vigorously denied the previous allegations and pleaded not guilty to those charges. The undressing was allegedly meant to prepare the girls for engaging in sexual massage with Epstein.

Earlier this year, Maxwell's lawyers challenged the charges against her, saying they were obtained unjustly and didn't properly allege crimes.

The indictment said Epstein's employees, including Maxwell, also sent gifts such as lingerie to the girl's Florida home from NY, where Epstein had a townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

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She has also said the perjury charges, based on depositions from 2016 in a civil lawsuit, should be tossed because her answers were true, and the grand jury in suburban White Plains, New York, that indicted her had too few nonwhite jurors.

Ghislaine Maxwell, driven by Britain's Prince Andrew, leaving the wedding of a former girlfriend of the prince, Aurelia Cecil near Salisbury, England.

A photo of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at a July 2020 news conference called by the United States attorney for the Southern District of NY.

Maxwell has been jailed without bail pending trial since mid-July, with US District Judge Alison Nathan saying that Maxwell's wealth, global ties and "extraordinary capacity to avoid detection" made her a flight risk.

She was denied bail for a third time earlier this month and remains in prison in Brooklyn awaiting a trial due to start this summer.

"Whereas Count One of the S1 Indictment alleged that this conspiracy lasted through in or about 1997, Count One of the S2 Indictment alleges that the conspiracy continued through in or about 2004 and specifically identifies a fourth victim, Minor Victim-4, who was a victim of this conspiracy between approximately 2001 and 2004", Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen Comey wrote in a 4-page letter. The new indictment prolongs the length of the alleged conspiracy and adds a "Minor Victim-4".

Epstein killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trail on sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide.

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