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US says Ghislaine Maxwell should stay behind bars, deserves no bail

Jonathan Stempel

Reuters

New York, United States  /  Mon, December 21, 2020  /  12:30 pm
US says Ghislaine Maxwell should stay behind bars, deserves no bail

In this file photo taken on July 2, 2020 a photo of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein is seen as acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, announces charges against Maxwell during a press conference in New York City. (AFP/Johannes Eisele)

US prosecutors on Friday said Ghislaine Maxwell, the former associate of Jeffrey Epstein charged with helping enable his sexual abuses, should remain in jail, and urged a federal judge to reject her proposed $28.5 million bail package.

In a filing with the US District Court in Manhattan, prosecutors said Maxwell has essentially rehashed previously rejected arguments for bail, and that she remains an "extreme flight risk" from "incredibly serious" charges.

"Nothing in the renewed bail application alters the analysis that led this court to conclude that the defendant 'poses a substantial actual risk of flight,' and that no combination of conditions could assure her appearance," prosecutors said.

Maxwell, 58, has been living in a Brooklyn jail since July, when she pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom underage girls for sex in the mid-1990s, and not guilty to perjury for having denied involvement under oath.

She has proposed living with electronic monitoring in a New York City residence, and under 24-hour guard to ensure she remains safe and does not flee.

Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted at her scheduled July 2021 trial.

US District Judge Alison Nathan, who rejected a $5 million bail package for Maxwell in July, will consider her latest application.

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Read also: Ghislaine Maxwell denies witnessing underage sex, other misconduct in Epstein deposition

Maxwell's bail application said she "vehemently maintains her innocence" against allegations she assisted Epstein, based on uncorroborated testimony about events occurring more than 25 years ago.

But prosecutors said new details about Maxwell's finances - details she would have known when first seeking bail - did not bolster her case.

They said Maxwell's having moved most of her assets to her husband showed her ability to "hide her true wealth", whose size demonstrated she could "absolutely afford" to flee.

Prosecutors also said Maxwell's pledge to waive extradition from the United Kingdom and France, where she has citizenships, was worthless because those countries' would not allow it.

Maxwell proposed posting a $22.5 million bond, representing all assets belonging to her and her husband, secured by $8.5 million of property and cash. The remaining bail would be posted by friends, family and a security specialist.

"Release to the equivalent of a 'privately funded jail' is not warranted here," prosecutors said.

Authorities arrested Maxwell on July 2 at her New Hampshire home, which prosecutors said she used as a hideout.

Her husband, whose name was redacted from court papers, has said Maxwell moved there to protect her safety and escape the media frenzy, not to elude capture.

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