James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Ghislaine Maxwell requests bail release 'due to the Covid-19 crisis '
10 July 2020, 19:52
Lawyers representing Ghislaine Maxwell have said she should be released on bail whilst awaiting trial due to “the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on detained defendants”.
The British socialite is awaiting trial for for her alleged role helping to groom and sexually abuse girls as young as 14 alongside Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell, 58, was arrested on 2 July at her New Hampshire home.
If convicted, she could face up to 35 years in jail.
Maxwell's lawyers have insisted that she is "not a flight risk" and that she is trying to keep a low profile amid “carnival-like” media scrutiny.
“Ever since Epstein’s arrest, Ms Maxwell has been at the centre of a crushing onslaught of press articles, television specials and social media posts painting her in the most damning light possible and prejudging her guilt.
"The sheer volume of media reporting mentioning Ms Maxwell is staggering,” her lawyers argued in the court papers.
In Maxwell's bail argument, her lawyers said: "As this court has noted, the Covid-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented health risk to incarcerated individuals, and Covid-19-related restrictions on attorney communications with pre-trial detainees significantly impair a defendant’s ability to prepare her defence."
“Simply put, under these circumstances, if Ms Maxwell continues to be detained, her health will be at serious risk and she will not be able to receive a fair trial.”
They said later that “Ms Maxwell will be at significant risk of contracting Covid-19 if she is detained, and she will not be able to meaningfully participate in the preparation of her defence due to the restrictions that have been placed on attorney visits and phone calls in light of the pandemic.”
Her legal team suggested several bail conditions, including a $5m personal recognisances bond co-signed by six financially responsible people, backed by property in the UK worth over $3.75m.
They also proposed limiting her travel to the New York City area, turning in all her travel documents, imposing home confinement in New York City with GPS monitoring, and restricting visitors to her immediate family, close friends and lawyers.
On Tuesday, bail arguments will be heard, and a judge will arraign Maxwell on multiple charges, including that she conspired to entice girls as young as 14 to engage in illegal sex acts with Epstein from 1994 through 1997 at his homes in New York City, Florida and New Mexico, and at Maxwell’s residence in London.
Prosecutors said Epstein, a convicted sex offender, and Maxwell had a “personal and professional” relationship, as well as an “intimate relationship” from about 1994 to 1997.
Epstein took his own life in jail last August.
Maxwell has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in relation to Epstein or women linked to him.