Prosecutors added two charges against Ghislaine Maxwell in a case accusing her of grooming and abusing young women and girls for Jeffrey Epstein’s empire of abuse. The new counts against Maxwell now include sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor—the first time these statutes have been leveled against her.
“From at least in or about 2001, up to and including in or about 2004, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, Ghislaine Maxwell, the defendant, Jeffrey Epstein, and others known and unknown, willfully and knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to commit an offense against the United States, to wit, sex trafficking of minors,” the superseding indictment states.
Shortly after the grand jury returned the new charges, prosecutors explained the changes between the indictments in a memo filed later in the day. The new indictment prolongs the length of the alleged conspiracy and adds a “Minor Victim-4.”
“Whereas Count One of the S1 Indictment alleged that this conspiracy lasted through in or about 1997, Count One of the S2 Indictment alleges that the conspiracy continued through in or about 2004 and specifically identifies a fourth victim, Minor Victim-4, who was a victim of this conspiracy between approximately 2001 and 2004,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen Comey wrote in a 4-page letter.
Both additional counts include allegations involving “Minor Victim-4.”
Maxwell’s trial has been scheduled for July, and prosecutors say that they will help ensure that the defense has adequate time to prepare for it in light of the new charges.
“Additionally, in order to ensure that the defense has adequate time to prepare for trial, the Government intends to begin its production to the defense of non-testifying witness statements by April 12, 2021, approximately three months in advance of trial,” prosecutors wrote. “This production will include the statements of more than 250 witnesses related to the investigation of Jeffrey Epstein and his associates in the government’s possession whom the government does not currently expect to call to testify at trial. The government is continuing to review its files for witness statements and will produce any additional non-testifying witness statements that come to light on a rolling basis as promptly as possible in advance of trial.”
Prosecutors hope that these disclosures will avoid delay.
“These productions, together with the guidance provided to the defense today regarding discovery relating to Minor Victim-4, should provide ample time for the defense to prepare for trial and proceed as scheduled on July 12, 2021,” they wrote.
Maxwell’s attorneys did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Shortly after the new indictment became public, Maxwell was dealt another setback by District Judge Alison Nathan, who rejected her attempt to seal information already entered into the public record. “Once information has become part of the public record, any interests that might have supported keeping it confidential largely dissipate,” Nathan wrote, ordering the lifting of redactions on a government memo.
Editor’s note: This story initially stated that the charges had been doubled, but the initial indictment against Maxwell had six counts, not four.
Read the superseding indictment below:
Read the government memo describing the changes between indictments:
[image via JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images]