By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty to new sex trafficking charges in a Manhattan courtroom Friday.

She was arraigned on charges allegedly involving a 14-year-old victim. They were added to her indictment last month and stretched the timespan of the charges from three years to a decade.

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(credit: Christine Cornell)

Maxwell, 59, pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking conspiracy and the additional sex trafficking charges. It was her first in-person court appearance since her arrest in July 2020.

Lawyers argued over exactly when Maxwell should be tried on sex trafficking charges alleging that she procured teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse at his posh residences.

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Her lawyers maintain they need months of additional preparation because of the new charges, making it impossible to keep a July 12 trial date. Prosecutors have said the new charges should not require substantial additional work because they add a single victim to the three victims already described in the indictment.

The judge did not make an immediate decision on a possible new date for the trial, but told lawyers she wants to avoid a long delay.

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Maxwell has been in custody at a federal lockup in Brooklyn since her arrest at a $1 million New Hampshire estate where her lawyers say she went to live to avoid the spotlight of media attention and to remain safe from threats. Prosecutors, though, say she took steps to hide her whereabouts and movements.

Maxwell has failed three times to be granted bail despite offering a $28.5 million package and agreeing to live with electronic monitoring and armed guards who would ensure she does not leave a New York City residence. She also has offered to give up citizenship in the United Kingdom and France. A bail appeal hearing is scheduled next week before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In court documents, prosecutors say Maxwell recruited at least three teenage girls, including a 14-year-old, between 1994 and 1997 for Epstein to sexually abuse. The superseding indictment says another teenage girl was recruited in the early 2000s when she was 14. The indictment alleges Maxwell sometimes joined the abuse.

A lawyer for Maxwell requested the in-person arraignment Friday, citing “media coverage” and a “debacle” that occurred during a remote hearing in a related civil case before another judge when members of the public clogged up a line provided by the court for people outside the courthouse to listen to the proceeding.

Epstein died by suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan in August 2019 while awaiting a sex-trafficking trial.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSNewYork Team