Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty to new indictments during her first in-person court appearance since being arrested on sex trafficking charges.
While she had previously faced the court via video link from the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Centre, today marked the first live appearance in a US District Court in lower Manhattan.
The new indictment, which adds a victim and extends the timeframe of the charge, supersedes the previous charges that Ms Maxwell had also pleaded not guilty to.
The brief exchange took roughly 15 to 20 minutes. Ms Maxwell’s sister was in the courtroom, but her two brothers remained in England due to Covid travel restrictions.
Defence attorney David Markus said outside the court that a "courageous and tough" Ms Maxwell was looking forward to the trial so she could fight.
"She’s hanging in there, it’s not easy," Mr Markus told reporters. "I’ve never seen anything like how she’s being treated. It’s the Epstein effect. It’s the Epstein effect. She’s been treated horribly because of the negligence and what happened to Jeffrey Epstein."
One of Epstein’s victims said after the appearance that it was “incredibly vindicating” to see Maxwell sitting in court for the first time.
The unnamed survivor, who appeared with her lawyers David Boies and Sigrid McCawley, said she was too afraid to sit through Epstein’s appearance.
“This is a new feeling for me to sit there and accept a lot. It’s hard to sit through it, and it’s painful, but it’s good too. It’s healing,” she said.
Her lawyer, Mr Boies, said Epstein’s victims were looking forward to a trial. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“Everybody felt like they were cheated by Mr Epstein’s death, I think that everyone was looking forward by holding him to account in a court of law," he said. “I think now, that Ms Maxwell is going to go to trial, I think that is something that they’re looking forward to.”
Federal judge Alison Nathan did not rule out delaying the 12 July start date of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, which the defence wants to postpone until the fall or winter for time to review evidence.
Without ruling on the motion to delay the start date, Ms Nathan said "everyone should assume that it’s July” unless they hear otherwise.
She urged prosecutors to provide disclosures to the defence seven weeks before trial – or 24 May - the allow time to prepared.
“There’s a lot to do for everyone and we’ll get it done,” Ms Nathan said.