Maxwell Asks for Trial Delay of Months After U.S. Expands Case
(Bloomberg) -- Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually assault girls, asked that her July 12 trial be pushed back at least 90 days -- and possibly into next year -- to prepare for the government’s recently expanded case against her.
The U.S. added more heft to its prosecution in March with a fourth accuser and two new charges, alleging crimes as recent as the early 2000s and directly accusing Maxwell of sex-trafficking a minor. Maxwell, 59, has been in a federal lockup in Brooklyn, New York, since her arrest last July on charges including transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two perjury counts. The new sex-trafficking charge alone carries a maximum statutory prison sentence of 40 years.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan on Thursday, defense lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said the new charges have “effectively added a brand new case on top of the existing case,” requiring “considerable time for the defense to investigate and prepare.”
For example, Sternheim said, prosecutors retrieved more than 2.4 million pages of material from Epstein’s electronic devices that didn’t pertain to the original indictment, which covered 1994 to 1997. The revised indictment includes allegations that Maxwell groomed and sexually trafficked a 14-year-old girl to engage in sex acts with Epstein and later paid her, in a scheme the government says lasted until 2004.
Sternheim also said her firm has other trials scheduled that could spill over to next year, making the Maxwell trial “unlikely, if not impossible, before mid-January.”
The case is U.S. v. Maxwell, 20-cr-00330, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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