Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and handler for convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, pleaded not guilty to felony sex trafficking charges during a virtual courtroom hearing on Tuesday.
At the conclusion of the hearing, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan denied Maxwell bail as he “deemed her a flight risk,” ABC News reports.
The decision came as prosecutors argued last week that Maxwell was an “extreme” flight risk. She has “three passports, large sums of money, extensive international connections,” the attorneys said via the report.
Her trial is scheduled for July 12, 2021.
President Donald Trump was asked about Maxwell during a press conference at the White House.
“I just wish her well, frankly,” he said.
“I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is,” he added.
Pres. Trump on Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime companion of infamous sex offender Jeffrey Epstein: "I just wish her well, frankly."
— ABC News (@ABC) July 22, 2020
Maxwell was arrested earlier this month on charges of transporting children for illegal sex acts and lying during investigations into Epstein. She was accused of encouraging young girls to become close to Epstein, having him pay for their outings and asking about their family lives. The interactions were meant to “normalize sexual abuse” that occurred at Epstein’s properties, according to her indictment. Maxwell, who faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted, has denied the charges.
Maxwell was arrested about a year after Epstein, who was also charged with sex trafficking. Epstein was found dead in his New York jail cell about a month after his arrest. His death was ruled a suicide. He had served more than a year in prison after being convicted in 2008 on charges that included procuring an underage girl for prostitution.
Attorney Brad Edwards, who represents several of Epstein’s alleged victims, said Maxwell was definitively involved with Epstein’s illegal activities. He alleged she was aware of them, encouraged them, and participated in them. The case is clear, he said.
“Ghislaine Maxwell created Jeffrey Epstein,” Edwards said to ABC News. “She helped to create the monster that we later understood him to be.”
Maxwell, however, has denied all the allegations against her and her attorneys maintain she “had no involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged misconduct.”
ABC News adds:
Maxwell, 58, is the Oxford-educated daughter of Robert Maxwell, the larger than life publishing baron whose rags-to-riches story captivated England. She lived an extravagant life among the British elite until her father’s business empire collapsed in the wake of his death. She fled to New York looking for a fresh start and was soon seen in the company of the mysterious multimillionaire Epstein.
In a letter to a Florida state prosecutor related to Epstein’s 2008 guilty plea, Epstein’s attorneys describe his relationship with Maxwell as one of two “long-term intimate relationships” Epstein had in adulthood. Maxwell has asserted in court filings that she entered Epstein’s employ in 1999, where she remained, despite the eventual end of their romantic relationship, until at least 2006.