New York: Sex trafficking charges and another alleged victim were added to a superseding indictment returned on Monday in the criminal case against financier Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend as prosecutors alleged that a conspiracy to sexually abuse girls stretched over a decade.
The charges contained in a rewritten indictment returned by a grand jury in Manhattan federal court alleged that a conspiracy between Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell occurred between 1994 and 2004. An indictment returned after Maxwell’s July arrest limited crimes to a three-year period in the 1990s.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in New York in 2005.Credit:Getty
Maxwell, 59, has remain in a federal jail without bail after a judge three times rejected bail packages, the last of which included offers to renounce her citizenships in the United Kingdom and France, to be kept in place by armed guards and to post $US28.5 million ($37 million) in assets.
Maxwell, a US citizen, has pleaded not guilty to charges brought a year after Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges. He killed himself at a Manhattan federal lockup in August 2019. A message for comment was sent to her lawyers. Maxwell has also appealed the bail rejections.
The rewritten indictment added a sex trafficking conspiracy and a sex trafficking charge against Maxwell.
It also added a fourth girl to the allegations, saying she was sexually abused multiple times by Epstein between 2001 and 2004 at his Palm Beach, Florida, residence, beginning when she was 14 years old.
The indictment said Maxwell groomed the girl to engage in sex acts with Epstein through multiple ways, including by giving her lingerie and hundreds of dollars in cash and by encouraging the girl to recruit other young females to provide “sexualized massages” to Epstein.
Earlier this year, Maxwell’s lawyers challenged the charges against her, saying they were obtained unjustly and didn’t properly allege crimes. They said the indictment also violates an agreement federal prosecutors made a dozen years ago not to charge Epstein or those who worked for him.
In a letter to a judge Monday, prosecutors acknowledged that the rewritten indictment may require defense lawyers to supplement their arguments to dismiss charges.
But the government also promised not to bring another rewritten indictment against her if lawyers do not request to postpone a trial scheduled for July 12.
Numbers to call for support: Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636.
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