Ghislaine Maxwell is demanding an in-person arraignment on the latest sex trafficking charges after her last court live stream was hacked by QAnon supporters.
The British socialite is facing accusations of grooming a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual acts with her and Jeffrey Epstein in Florida from 2001 to 2004.
Her lawyers are asking a judge to allow her to appear in a physical courtroom rather than pleading guilty or not guilty via video link.
Maxwell’s January video hearing was reportedly illegally streamed on YouTube and watched by 14,000 people. QAnon supporters posted messages in a live chat.
“As counsel has notified the government, Ms. Maxwell is requesting an in-person arraignment. She will not waive that right, most especially in light of media coverage and the debacle that occurred during a remote proceeding in a related civil case before Judge Preska,” her lawyers said in a court filing.
During the January hearing, a deputy clerk at Manhattan Federal Court interrupted proceedings to tell Judge Loretta Preska that the hearing was being livestreamed.
“Whoever is doing it, you are operating against the law,” the judge said. “I suspect there is a way to find out. So I will ask you, most respectfully, to stop doing it.”
The livestream ended and the hearing was able to continue.
The original charges against Maxwell were related to crimes allegedly committed in the 1990s. But the new indictment states that the sex trafficking of “Minor Victim-4” took place between 2001 and 2004.
In the latest court filing, Maxwell’s lawyers accused prosecutors of abusing their power in bringing the latest indictment against her.
“That the government has made this move late in the game – with trial set for July 12th – is obvious tactical gamesmanship,” they stated.
“Adding charges that were never launched against Jeffrey Epstein based on evidence that was in the government’s possession for years is shocking, unfair, and an abuse of power.”
They are asking for the in-person hearing to be pushed back to April 23 in order for Maxwell’s family to be able to attend.
“Counsel appreciates that an in-person arraignment requires some logistical arrangements which may be accommodated by the requested date,” they stated in a letter to the court. “Further, the extra time will permit Ms. Maxwell’s family members to adjust their schedules and make travel arrangements to attend the court proceedings.”
Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested last July at her luxurious compound in New Hampshire, almost a year after the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein.