Ghislaine Maxwell should not receive bail due to 'extreme flight risk', prosecutors argue

13 July 2020, 19:51

Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffery Epstein
Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffery Epstein. Picture: Getty

By Maddie Goodfellow

Prosecutors have said that Ghislaine Maxwell should not be granted bail as she is an "extreme flight risk".

Maxwell is currently awaiting trial for her alleged involvement in Jeffrey Epstein's child sex trafficking ring.

Her legal team have previously stated that she would not be a flight risk, however prosecutors stated today that this is not the case.

Acting US attorney for the southern district of New York Audrey Strauss told the court: “The government respectfully submits that the defendant cannot meet her burden of overcoming the statutory presumption in favour of detention.

"There are no conditions of bail that would assure the defendant’s presence in court proceedings in this case. Accordingly, any application for bail should be denied.”

Prosecutors also pointed out that Maxwell is a citizen of France, and that "the country does not extradite its citizens to the United States pursuant to French law”.

She also has US and UK passports.

Maxwell, 58, was arrested on 2 July at her New Hampshire home.

If convicted, she could face up to 35 years in jail.

Acting US attorney for the southern district of New York Audrey Strauss
Acting US attorney for the southern district of New York Audrey Strauss. Picture: PA

On Friday, Maxwell's lawyers 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.

"A match made in hell" - Ghislaine Maxwell's friend

Strauss also told the court “Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse."

“In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse.“She set the trap. She pretended to be a woman they could trust.”

On Tuesday, 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.

“Ms Maxwell vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” her lawyers wrote in court papers.