Ghislaine Maxwell's Lawyers Ask Lengthy Trial Delay to Defend Against New Sex Trafficking Charges

Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, asked a New York judge on Friday for a lengthy trial delay to defend against new charges.

The 59-year-old British socialite appeared in front of a judge for the first time in person since she was arrested last July on charges she helped lure at least three girls to be sexually abused by Epstein, who died in prison in August 2019 while waiting for his sex trafficking trial.

On Friday, Maxwell pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking conspiracy and an additional sex trafficking charge. Both of the new charges were added in an indictment last month from a Manhattan federal grand jury, the Associated Press reported.

That new indictment increased the timespan of Maxwell's charges from three years to a decade, prompting her lawyers to request months of additional preparation time and postponement of her scheduled trial date, which is currently set for July 12.

The judge did not make an immediate decision regarding the lawyers' request, placing Maxwell's future trial date in limbo for the time being.

Ghislaine Maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell attends the WIE Symposium at New York City's Center 548 on September 20, 2013. Lawyers for the former girlfriend of the late Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sex trafficking, have asked for a trial delay as she faces new charges. Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Prosecutors have said the new charges should not require substantial additional work because they add a single victim to the three victims already described in the indictment.

Maxwell has been in custody at a federal lockup in Brooklyn, New York, since her arrest last July at a $1 million New Hampshire estate where her lawyers say she went to live to avoid the spotlight of media attention and to remain safe from threats. Prosecutors, though, say she took steps to hide her whereabouts and movements.

Maxwell has failed three times to be granted bail despite offering a $28.5 million package and agreeing to live with electronic monitoring and armed guards who would ensure she does not leave a New York City residence. The U.S. citizen also has offered to give up citizenship in the United Kingdom and France. A bail appeal hearing is scheduled next week before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In court documents, prosecutors say Maxwell recruited at least three teenage girls, including a 14-year-old, between 1994 and 1997 for Epstein to sexually abuse. The superseding indictment says another teenage girl was recruited in the early 2000s when she was 14. The indictment alleges Maxwell sometimes joined the abuse.

A lawyer for Maxwell requested the in-person arraignment Friday, citing "media coverage" and a "debacle" that occurred during a remote hearing in a related civil case before another judge when members of the public clogged up a line provided by the court for people outside the courthouse to listen to the proceeding.