Ghislaine Maxwell's sex crimes trial delayed until autumn 2021

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell appears during her arraignment hearing on a new indictment at Manhattan Federal Court in New York City, New York, US, April 23, 2021, in this courtroom sketch.
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell appears during her arraignment hearing on a new indictment at Manhattan Federal Court in New York City, New York, US, April 23, 2021, in this courtroom sketch. © Jane Rosenberg, Reuters

A New York judge on Monday pushed back British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell's sex crimes trial from July until late this year after her defence team asked for more time to prepare.

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Judge Alison Nathan said a "short" delay was appropriate after prosecutors filed a superseding indictment with stronger charges that she trafficked underage girls for her former partner Jeffrey Epstein.

"The court deems an adjournment until Fall 2021 to be reasonable," Nathan wrote in a court filing.

The trial had originally been scheduled to begin on July 12. The prosecution and the defense now have until May 10 to propose a new date.

Maxwell has been behind bars in New York since July 2020.

She faces six counts, including sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor.

The alleged crimes occurred between 1994 and 2004, and relate to four women, including two who prosecutors say were just 14 years old when they were sexually abused.

Maxwell denies all the allegations against her and has pleaded not guilty. She faces an effective life sentence if convicted.

She allegedly befriended girls with shopping and movie theater outings, and later coaxed them into giving Epstein nude massages during which he would engage in sex acts.

Disgraced financier Epstein killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial.

(AFP)

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