Ghislaine Maxwell is set to attend a New York court today in her first in-person hearing since her arrest last year.
The British socialite faces an arraignment on new sex trafficking charges added to an indictment three weeks ago and is expected to plead not guilty.
The 59-year-old was granted permission to attend the hearing, which is normally a formality, in-person by Judge Alison Nathan.
Maxwell’s lawyers have previously said she is demanding to be arraigned on the new allegations in person after the dial-in phone line on a previous hearing was hijacked by QAnon conspiracy theorists.
Her lawyers have failed three times to convince Judge Nathan to release Maxwell on bail after they claimed their client is living in poor prison conditions and has lost weight.
Today will be the first time she will appear in person after nine months in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center – and the extent of how this has affected Maxwell’s appearance.
Ghislaine Maxwell (right with her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein in 2005) is set to attend a New York court today in her first in-person hearing since her arrest last year
The British socialite faces an arraignment on new sex trafficking charges added to an indictment three weeks ago and is expected to plead not guilty. Pictured: A courtroom sketch of Maxwell from July 14 2020
Judge Alison Nathan is presiding over Maxwell’s case
Her family are reportedly planning to be at her arraignment today meaning that she could see her husband Scott Borgerson in person from across the courtroom.
The alleged ‘madam’ for Jeffrey Epstein had requested a week’s delay to April 23 to formally plead to two additional charges at federal court in New York
A document filed by her lawyers states that this is to enable her ‘family members to adjust their schedules and make travel arrangements to attend the court proceedings’.
Sources close to Maxwell’s family told The Telegraph that her appearance in court today is about Maxwell wanting to ‘face her accusers head on’, as well as being free from her prison cell for a while.
A rewritten indictment lodged against the 59-year-old British socialite last month added sex trafficking charges to allegations that Maxwell recruited three teenage girls from 1994 to 1997 for then-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.
New charges involving the sex trafficking of a minor stretched the conspiracy to 2004.
Today will be the first time she will appear in person after nine months in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center – and the extent of how this has affected Maxwell’s appearance
According to the new indictment, the woman was sexually abused multiple times by Epstein between 2001 and 2004 at his Palm Beach, Florida, residence, beginning when she was 14 years old.
Today, Maxwell is expected to plead not guilty to the new charges in person – but it is not clear who from her family will be there to see her.
Her husband could travel 250 miles from his home just outside Boston to show his support while her twin sisters Isabel and Christine Maxwell could also visit from their homes.
But her brother Ian, who launched a public PR campaign to have Maxwell freed from custody after she was denied her bail three times, is not able to travel from the UK due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Maxwell’s trial is set for July 12 on charges alleging she recruited and groomed teenage girls from 1994 to 2004 to provide sexual massages to her one-time boyfriend. Last week, her lawyers requested that the trial be delayed until next January, saying the new charges require months of investigation.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s older brother Ian spoke out in his sister’s defense in a video on the family’s new website, realghislaine.com
Ghislaine Maxwell, far right, is pictured with Prince Andrew and accuser Virginia Roberts in her townhouse in London. Roberts has filed a criminal lawsuit claiming that she had under-aged sex with Prince Andrew and pedophile Epstein
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty. Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan federal lockup as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.
Due to the coronavirus most hearings in the Southern District of New York are taking place via Zoom or through a dial-in phone line.
The dial-in phone line on a previous hearing was hijacked by QAnon conspiracy theorists, leading to Maxwell’s lawyers to say their client is demanding to be arraigned on the new allegations in person.
All 500 spots on the public phone line in the separate civil case were occupied and one person live streamed the hearing on YouTube until the judge told them to stop.
Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim called that hearing a ‘debacle’ and said that Maxwell is demanding a bail hearing where witnesses can testify regarding the ‘purported strength of the government’s case’.
As they have repeatedly argued before, lawyers for Maxwell wrote that she is being punished in part because Epstein is out of reach.
‘She is no monster, but she is being treated like one because of the `Epstein effect,´’ they wrote.
Maxwell, has been in jail since her arrest on July 2 in Bradford, New Hampshire at her $1 million country home. Pictured: US Attorney for the Southern District Audrey Strauss announced the charges against Maxwell at a press conference last year
The lawyers urged the 2nd Circuit to ‘test the actual strength’ of the government case by insisting on a more thorough bail hearing where they could prove that each story told by the four people who say they were victims of Epstein and Maxwell ‘has dramatically changed over the years.’
‘At first, none of the anonymous accusers even mentioned Ms. Maxwell. As they hired the same law firm, sought money and fame, joined a movement, and only after Epstein died, did the accusers start to point the finger at Ms. Maxwell. Far from corroboration, this is fabrication,’ they wrote.
A spokesperson for prosecutors declined comment.
Earlier this month, the judge rejected Maxwell´s arguments to toss charges that she recruited three teenager girls from 1994 to 1997 for then-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.
Judge Nathan denied claims that a non-prosecution agreement Epstein reached with federal prosecutors over a dozen years ago protects Maxwell from prosecution.
She also disagreed that some or all charges should be tossed out for a variety of other perceived flaws.
Maxwell has been in jail since her arrest on July 2 in Bradford, New Hampshire at her $1 million country home.
She is accused of enticing girls as young as 14 for Epstein to abuse and in some cases taking part in the abuse.
Maxwell, the daughter of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, also perjured herself in a civil case.
She denies all the allegations.
The launch of the webpage is a notable shift in tone by the famously tight-lipped family, who appear to be trying to salvage Maxwell’s reputation ahead of her trial in July
The site, realghislaine.com, invites people to ‘get to know the real Ghislaine’ on the website, where they shared biographical details, information about her upcoming trial, jail conditions, as well as the books she is reading behind bars.
‘This website has been developed and is maintained by brothers, sisters, family & friends of Ghislaine Maxwell, the people who have known the real Ghislaine all her life, not the fictional one-dimensional character created by the media,’ it states.
‘We believe wholeheartedly in our beloved sister’s innocence and encourage visitors to this site to sign up for updates from the family on her case by providing your e-mail address below in the strictest of confidence.’