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Ghislaine Maxwell sex crimes trial in New York slated for November

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell appears during her hearing

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge will seek to start Ghislaine Maxwell's trial on charges she procured teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse on Nov. 29, rejecting the British socialite's request to begin three weeks earlier.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan said on Tuesday the later date served the interests of justice because it would let Maxwell's four prosecutors continue without scheduling disruptions.

The prosecutors had argued that the complex case, resulting from years of investigation, made letting them see it through to trial "a particularly compelling interest."

Nathan said the trial date is subject to courtroom availability and COVID-19 protocols, and that she would seek to conduct jury selection during the week of Nov. 15.

Maxwell's lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

One of the lawyers, Bobbi Sternheim, had written that the Nov. 29 date, which is the first Monday after the Thanksgiving Day holiday, would have a "severe and irreparable impact on Maxwell's defense."

She said it would keep Maxwell in jail longer, could disrupt jurors' travel plans, and could "cast defense counsel and the defense case in a negative light as jurors impatiently wait for the trial to conclude before Christmas, which it won't."

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and other charges in an eight-count indictment over her alleged role in procuring four teenage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004.

The 59-year-old Maxwell has been jailed in Brooklyn since her arrest last July.

Epstein, a financier, killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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