Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail after pleading not guilty to luring girls into sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell will remain behind bars until trial after she was denied bail on charges she had recruited girls for the financier to sexually abuse more than two decades ago.
- Prosecutors say Ghislaine Maxwell is an extreme flight risk, particularly because she holds multiple citizenships
- She is accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein groom and abuse women as young as 14 during the 1990s
- One of Ms Maxwell’s accusers told the bail hearing they still felt threatened by her
Two of Epstein’s accusers implored the judge to keep the British socialite detained after she pleaded not guilty to the charges during a video court hearing in Manhattan.
Ms Maxwell, 58, has been held since her July 2 arrest at her New Hampshire estate, where prosecutors say she refused to open the door for FBI agents, who busted through to find she had retreated to an interior room.
She has been charged with recruiting at least three girls, one as young as 14, for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 1997.
An indictment alleged she helped groom victims to endure sexual abuse and was sometimes there when Epstein abused them.
It also alleged she lied during a 2016 deposition in a civil case stemming from Epstein’s abuse of girls and women.
Epstein killed himself in August 2019, several weeks after he was also confronted by two accusers at a bail hearing.
They insisted he should remain in jail while awaiting sex-trafficking charges that alleged he abused girls at his Manhattan and Florida mansions in the early 2000s.
In court papers, Ms Maxwell’s lawyers argued Epstein’s death left the media “wrongly trying to substitute her for Epstein”.
“Even though she’d had no contact with Epstein for more than a decade, had never been charged with a crime or been found liable in any civil litigation, and has always denied any allegations of claimed misconduct,” the papers said.
Prosecutors said in court Ms Maxwell was a flight risk because of her “undisclosed wealth” and “extensive international ties” that could put her out of the reach of extradition.
“She has the ability to live off the grid indefinitely,” prosecutor Alison Moe said, citing her access to millions of dollars and the scant information about her finances provided by her lawyers.
Ms Maxwell appeared before US District Judge Alison Nathan by video from the Brooklyn jail where she is being held.
Trial date set for next year
Ms Maxwell’s lawyers pushed to have her released with conditions including a $US5 million ($7.175 million) bond and home confinement with electronic monitoring.
They said she “vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence”.
But prosecutors argued her wealth and multiple citizenships — American, French and British — also supported the need for detention.
Ms Maxwell, was arrested on July 2 at a 63-hectare property she bought in December in an all-cash transaction, with her identity shielded.
Epstein was charged in July 2019 with sexually exploiting dozens of girls and women from 2002 to 2005 at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.
Epstein conspiracy theories
The mysterious Jeffrey Epstein’s life and crimes, and the lack of punishment thereof, had already been the subject of intense debate, but his death has prompted a slew of conspiracies.
He killed himself on August 10, 2019, at age 66 in a Manhattan jail.
Epstein has been linked socially to several powerful figures, including President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew.
Prosecutors said that when FBI agents enter Ms Maxwell’s her home, they found a mobile phone wrapped in tin foil in an apparent effort to evade detection.
Prosecutors also alleged Ms Maxwell used former British military personnel to guard her.
The judge set a trial date for July 2021.