Ghislaine Maxwell makes first US court appearance

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image captionMs Maxwell appeared in court in New York on Friday

Ghislaine Maxwell has appeared in court on new charges of sex-trafficking, her first appearance since her arrest last summer.

She attended the New York court in person on Friday for arraignment on new charges against her filed last month.

Ms Maxwell, 59, pleaded not guilty to the new counts.

The British socialite is accused of helping convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein recruit, groom and sexually abuse girls.

Ms Maxwell, the daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell, was in a relationship with Epstein in the 1990s. She allegedly introduced him to wealthy and powerful figures including Prince Andrew of the British Royal Family and Bill Clinton.

She now faces six counts including sex-trafficking of a minor and sex-trafficking conspiracy. She also faces a further two charges relating to allegations of perjury in 2016.

The two new charges relate to allegations that Maxwell recruited a 14-year-old girl to provide Epstein with sexualised massages between 2001 and 2004. The girl was then paid hundreds of dollars in cash in return and was encouraged to recruit other young women.

The entire proceeding on Friday lasted less than 10 minutes. Maxwell only spoke three times in order to answer the judge's question about whether or not she had received a copy of the indictment.

Jury selection is set for 12 July but the judge is considering a request to delay the trial.

Ms Maxwell has previously denied all of the charges. If convicted on all charges, she faces up to 80 years in prison.

Epstein killed himself in 2019 as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges, more than a decade after he was convicted for soliciting prostitution from a minor.

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