Epstein associate to face accusers in video court appearance

NEW YORK (AP) — Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend will face a judge and at least one of her accusers by video at a hearing to determine whether she stays behind bars until trial on charges she recruited girls for the financier to abuse a quarter century before he killed himself in a Manhattan jail.

The hearing yesterday afternoon in Manhattan federal court featured a not guilty plea by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell along with arguments over whether she’ll flee if she’s released.

Even if she was granted bail, she would almost certainly remain incarcerated while prosecutors would be given time to appeal and authorities would take time to arrange an electronic bracelet and verify her collateral and the finances of anyone required to pledge additional security.

The confrontation with any of her accusers will be an unusual spectacle with participants appearing by video on a screen in a large jury assembly room at a Manhattan courthouse where the 60 or so spectators are tested for fevers and must answer questions related to COVID-19.

A year earlier, Epstein took his life several weeks after he too was confronted by two accusers at a bail hearing who insisted that he should remain in jail while awaiting trafficking charges that alleged he abused girls at his Manhattan and Florida mansions in the early 2000s.

Maxwell, 58, has been held without bail since her July 2 arrest at her million-dollar New Hampshire estate.

Prosecutors said she refused to open the door for FBI agents, who busted through to find that she had retreated to an interior room.