A U.S. judge on Monday granted Ghislaine Maxwell’s motion to postpone her trial for finding teenage girls for sexual abuse of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, and said the trial would begin this fall.
US District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan said a “brief” postponement of the scheduled July 12 trial was appropriate as federal prosecutors added new charges to the case and COVID-19 protocols made it difficult to prepare for the trial.
Nathan ordered prosecutors and Maxwell’s attorneys to propose their “earliest possible” date by May 10th. “No additional delay is needed or in the interests of justice,” she added.
Maxwell’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for US attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.
59-year-old Maxwell pleaded not guilty of sex trafficking and other charges for her alleged role in the procurement of four teenage girls for Epstein who were molested between 1994 and 2004.
She had tried to reschedule the trial until at least November 8th and possibly next January because the sexual trafficking charges more than doubled to her March 29th indictment.
Prosecutors refused to adjourn but said they could accept a start date in March 2022 to avoid planning conflicts.
Nathan said any adjournment needs to be “no longer than necessary,” noting that Maxwell is being locked up in Brooklyn.
“It is important that all victims and the public have a strong interest in going to court immediately,” she added.
Maxwell’s attorneys have repeatedly complained that their treatment in prison is hindering their trial preparation.
She has objected to guards who allegedly disrupt her evidence and wake her up at night by shining flashlights into her cell to make sure she does not commit suicide.
Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.
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