Sunday, Apr 18, 2021

Ghislaine Maxwell seeks bail with US$28.5 million, armed guards

Ghislaine Maxwell seeks bail with US$28.5 million, armed guards

British socialite faces criminal charges she helped procure girls for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.

Lawyers for the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein are urging a judge to free her to await trial under a US$28.5 million bail package that would include armed guards to keep her in a New York City residence and protect her safety.

The bail arguments on behalf of Ghislaine Maxwell were filed under seal last Tuesday, but were publicly filed late Monday with redactions in Manhattan federal court that were approved by Judge Alison Nathan.

The lawyers said Maxwell and her spouse, with whom she has been living for the past four years, were offering a US$22.5 million personal recognisance bond secured by about US$8 million in property and US$500,000 in cash. They said US$22.5 million represents all of Maxwell and her spouse’s assets.

The spouse was not identified in court papers. The identities of seven other close friends and family members who the lawyers said were willing to pledge about US$5 million of their own assets toward the bail package were also not revealed. They also said she would have electronic monitoring.

Maxwell is expected to face a July trial on charges that she recruited three teenage girls for Epstein to abuse in the mid-1990s.

A courtroom sketch of Ghislaine Maxwell during her arraignment hearing in July.

The judge denied bail on July 14, agreeing with prosecutors that Maxwell posed a substantial flight risk, citing her opaque finances and “sophistication” in hiding her wealth and herself.

“Ms Maxwell vehemently maintains her innocence and is committed to defending herself,” the lawyers wrote. “She wants nothing more than to remain in this country to fight the allegations against her, which are based on the uncorroborated testimony of a handful of witnesses about events that took place over 25 years ago.”

To support the bail request, the lawyers included a letter from Maxwell’s spouse. They said the letter tells how Maxwell was forced to leave her family and drop out of public view, not because she was eluding law enforcement, but because of “the intense media frenzy and threats following the arrest and death of Jeffrey Epstein”.

She also agreed to waive extradition from the United Kingdom and France, where she holds citizenships, in a bid to assuage concern she might flee New York.

Epstein killed himself in a federal Manhattan jail in August 2019 as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

Prosecutors have until December 16 to respond to Maxwell’s bail request.


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