Judge delays start of Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial

A federal judge has granted a defense request to postpone the start of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, but only until the fall and not January as her attorneys sought.

US District Judge Alison Nathan cited a new federal indictment handed down in late march that added sex trafficking charges against the British socialite, accused of providing underage victims for Jeffrey Epstein and his friends, as well as a new victim.

“The Court is very mindful of the countervailing considerations that require that any adjournment be no longer than necessary,” Nathan wrote in her ruling, according to Law & Crime.

But, the judge said, the new charges extend the time period involved and bring in the new victim, requiring additional work for Maxwell’s defense.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, the superseding indictment adds two new charges — sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor — and a victim who was 14 at the time she alleges illegal activity, between 2001 and 2004. The previous charges, related to enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and perjury for allegedly lying to prosecutors about her activities, include activity that ended in 1997.

The new charges say the victim was paid “hundreds of dollars” by employees of Jeffrey Epstein, including Maxwell, and she was encouraged to recruit other minor girls to provide Epstein’s “sexualized massages.”

“On such occasions, both Minor Victim-4 and the girl she brought were paid hundreds of dollars in cash,” the indictment says. The victim also received gifts, including lingerie, sent to her from an address in New York.

Maxwell’s trial was scheduled to begin in July before Nathan’s ruling bumped it to the fall. The delay is sure to trigger another round of attempts to get Maxwell released on bail, all of which thus far have failed.

The trial was originally set to cover all the charges, but the perjury charges — concerning whether Maxwell lied about her activities under oath in civil litigation with Virginia Giuffre — have already been separated from the trafficking and recruitment charges.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Nathan ordered defense and prosecution attorneys to propose a fall trial date by May 10.

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[Featured image: FILE – In this July 2, 2020, file photo, Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, points to a photo of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell during a news conference in New York. Maxwell, criminally charged with aiding Jeffrey Epstein in his sexual abuse of teenage girls, testified in 2016 that she had no memory of anything amiss on his properties in the 2000s despite the accusations from dozens of women and girls that they were sexually abused by Epstein. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)]