Ghislaine Maxwell Faces Fourth Accuser, New Criminal Counts
(Bloomberg) -- Ghislaine Maxwell, the former Jeffrey Epstein associate charged in a sex trafficking case, faces two new criminal counts and a fourth accuser -- a woman the U.S. says was about 14 at the time of the alleged crimes.
The new indictment raises the already steep stakes for Maxwell, 59, who could spend years in prison if she is convicted. Her lawyers have argued that the government’s case is weak partly because it was based on anonymous accusers alleging acts from long ago. Prosecutors are now alleging criminal behavior starting about 1994 and stretching to approximately 2004, seven years later than their earlier claims.
In presenting the fourth accuser, the U.S. added a sex-trafficking conspiracy and sex-trafficking count to six earlier counts, which included enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. The added heft of the allegations may increase the government’s chances of persuading the jury.
Maxwell, who is fighting the charges, has a trial coming up in July. Laura Menninger, a lawyer for Maxwell, didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment on the revised indictment.
Prosecutors said Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein identify, befriend and “groom” minor victims for abuse. Epstein died in a Manhattan jail last year while he was awaiting trial on his own charges of trafficking in girls. His death was ruled a suicide.
The new indictment features a woman who the U.S. says was about 14 when she met Epstein and Maxwell in Palm Beach in 2001. Prosecutors allege Maxwell was at Epstein’s residence at the time and groomed the girl for sexual encounters with Epstein over three years.
Maxwell last week lost a third attempt to be released from jail on a $28.5 million bond and an offer to relinquish her French and British citizenship. She is in a federal jail in Brooklyn, New York. She has been in custody since her July 2 arrest in Bradford, New Hampshire.
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