Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty to charges relating to Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex trafficking operation on Tuesday, according to a report by The Daily Beast. Maxwell spoke to a judge via video chat from a Manhattan prison, pleading to be let out on bail. She also "vigorously denies" the prosecutors' claims that she will be a serious flight risk if she is allowed any freedom.
Maxwell has been accused of "grooming" girls as young as 14 years old to be sexually abused by Epstein and possibly others between the years of 1994 and 1997. She reportedly told the court that she is "not Jeffrey Epstein" and is not guilty, nor would she skip bail and go into hiding. Maxwell reportedly waived her right to be physically present in the courtroom, instead attending via video chat in a simple brown shirt with her short hair tied up in a bun. She offered $5 million in bail to be set free until her trial.
Maxwell's lawyers reportedly proposed bail conditions on her behalf, offering the massive bail payment along with $3.75 million in property in the United Kingdom. The check was co-signed by six people, including two of Maxwell's sisters. In exchange, they asked for Maxwell to be allowed to travel around the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, while staying in her own New York residence with GPS monitoring.
Federal prosecutors urged the judge to ignore these pleas and consider Maxwell a flight risk, saying that she is "skilled at living in hiding." They have previously pointed out Maxwell's dual citizenship in France, her multiple passports and her wealth of international connections, arguing that she will find a way to flee the U.S. if possible and hide in a place with tight extradition laws.
Maxwell's lawyers have argued that public perception of her and the allegations against her are misguided, and fueled by a subconscious desire to substitute her for Epstein himself, who died by suicide before he could face justice for his alleged crimes. They claim that Maxwell "has been in regular contact with the government, through counsel, since Epstein's arrest."
Maxwell was arrested on July 2 in a massive home in New Hampshire, which she had reportedly purchased with cash back in December. Federal authorities suspected she was in the remote area to evade them, as they came closer to bringing charges against her. She initially refused to open the door for federal agents when they came with a warrant for her arrest.
If convicted, Maxwell could face up to 35 years in prison for her alleged crimes. The 58-year-old heiress is also claiming that she is at too high of a risk of contracting a serious case of COVID-19 to be left in prison.