July 14 (UPI) -- Ghislaine Maxwell, a friend of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in a New York court to charges she conspired to traffic minors.
During her appearance by video at a Manhattan federal courthouse, the British socialite denied that she helped Epstein sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls as young as 14 from 1994 to 1997.
Maxwell, 58, faces eight counts, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and perjury.
Prosecutors said Maxwell used her position as a trusted adult to locate and "groom" underage girls for Epstein, gaining their trust by taking them to movies and on shopping trips and urging them to accept gifts from the powerful financier.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan said Maxwell posed "a substantial risk of flight" and ordered her held without bond. Trial was set for July 12, 2021.
Maxwell's lawyers asked the judge to release her from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn on a $5 million bond. Prosecutors said her wealth and dozens of overseas bank accounts make her an "extreme" flight risk. They asked that she be held without bail.
Law enforcement officials arrested Maxwell on July 2 at her New Hampshire home.
Epstein, who was convicted of trafficking underage girls in Florida, was accused of procuring teen girls for sex with wealthy and powerful men in New York and on private estates in New Mexico and the Virgin Islands. Epstein killed himself in his New York federal detention center jail cell in August after pleading not guilty.
Maxwell is the daughter of the late British media magnate Robert Maxwell and was frequently seen at Epstein's side in a high-profile social life among leading figures from the worlds of politics and the arts.