Ghislaine Maxwell seeks to delay trial after new sex trafficking charges added

NEW YORK (AP) — Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyer asked Thursday that her July trial be delayed until next year, saying sex trafficking charges recently added to an alleged conspiracy to recruit teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse requires much more trial preparation.

Attorney Bobbi Sternheim wrote in a letter to a Manhattan federal judge that a superseding indictment last month makes it impossible to be ready for trial by July 12.

She asked for a minimum three-month delay but said postponing until mid-January was likely necessary because lawyers have prior commitments until then.

Maxwell, 59, who has pleaded not guilty, was arrested last July. She is held without bail.

Prosecutors said last week they will oppose delaying the trial.

Media outlets set up cameras outside the main entrance of the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn where British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is held, July 14, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Original charges involved three girls from 1994 to 1997. The rewritten indictment added a fourth victim to the case and stretched the alleged conspiracy until 2004.

“Defending quarter-century-old allegations has required investigation across this country and around the world. Investigating the new allegations will require the same efforts and diligence,” Sternheim wrote.

She also called it “laughable” that prosecutors cited the coronavirus as a reason for a delay in bringing new charges while opposing additional time for the defense to prepare for trial.

“Defense preparation is not immune to the impact of the pandemic,” she said.

Epstein faced sex trafficking charges when he took his life in a Manhattan federal lockup in August 2019.

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