British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty to new sex trafficking charges in a court appearance in New York on Friday.
It was the first time the 59-year-old had faced a judge in person since her arrest at her New Hampshire home last July.
She has been charged with six counts, including sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor. The offenses were listed in a new indictment unveiled last month. Maxwell is also facing two separate counts of perjury.
What are the alleged crimes?
Maxwell is accused of helping disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein recruit and sexually abuse underage girls. Epstein, her one-time boyfriend, killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial.
Prosecutors had previously charged Maxwell with grooming and recruiting three girls, including a 14-year- old, for Epstein to abuse between 1994 to 1997.
Last month's superseding indictment added a new victim and stretched the timespan of the charges from three years to a decade. It alleged that Maxwell had recruited another 14-year-old girl in the early 2000s to give Epstein nude massages and engage in sex acts with him.
Prosecutors allege Maxwell also sometimes participated in the abuse. She has denied all the charges against her.
What happens next?
Maxwell is being held at a federal lockup in Brooklyn and has been denied bail three times since her arrest last year.
Her trial is scheduled to begin on July 12. But her lawyers say the new charges mean they need more time to prepare their case. Prosecutors have opposed any delay, saying a lengthy postponement could also harm the four alleged victims.
Maxwell faces up to 80 years in prison if she is convicted on all charges.
nm/wmr (AFP, Reuters, AP)