Washington, July 15 : British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty in a federal court in Manhattan, New York, to charges that she helped traffic young women for her former boyfriend and sex crime convict Jeffrey Epstein.
"How do you wish to plead to the charges?" Manhattan federal Judge Alison Nathan asked the 58-year-old. "Not guilty, your honour," Maxwell replied while attending the hearing remotely from a federal jail in Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
Maxwell was arrested on July 2 on a six-count indictment charging her with recruiting and grooming underage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein, who died August 10, 2019 in prison in what officials said was an apparent suicide.
Maxwell's charges include conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury.
Maxwell requested that a judge free her on a US $5 million bond, but the bail was opposed by prosecutor Alison Moe at Tuesday's hearing, citing Maxwell's deception with a real estate agent to hide her name and identity when she purchased a sprawling estate in Bradford, New Hampshire, where she was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents.
Nathan set July 12, 2021 as the beginning date of Maxwell's trial, which is expected to last three weeks.