US judge denies Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell bail

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Ghislaine Maxwell has been denied bail.
  • She is accused of assisting the late financier Jeffrey Epstein by recruiting girls for sex.
  • Prosecutors argued that she was a flight risk.

A US judge on Monday denied bail to Ghislaine Maxwell, citing the risk the British socialite might flee from charges she assisted in the late financier Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking of girls.

US District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan said federal prosecutors persuaded her that Maxwell "poses a flight risk" despite her proposed $28.5 million bail package, and should remain jailed because "no conditions of release" reasonably assured she would appear in court.

READ | Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to luring girls for Jeffrey Epstein to abuse

Lawyers for Maxwell did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom girls as young as 14 years old for sex in the mid-1990s, and not guilty to perjury for denying her involvement under oath.

She has been jailed at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn following her 2 July arrest at her New Hampshire home, where prosecutors said she was hiding out.

Jail conditions

The proposed bail package included $22.5 million posted by Maxwell and her husband, as well as home confinement with electronic monitoring and 24-hour guard to ensure Maxwell remained safe and would not escape.

Maxwell said she wanted to stay in New York to clear her name, while her lawyers objected to jail conditions including invasive searches and surveillance by flashlight-toting guards who woke her every 15 minutes to ensure she was still breathing.

But Nathan, who rejected a $5 million bail package for Maxwell in July, said none of the new arguments had a "material bearing" on whether Maxwell was a flight risk.

In opposing bail, prosecutors cited Maxwell's abilities to hide her wealth and evade capture, and the prospect she might flee to France or the UK, where she holds citizenships and they said she might elude extradition.

Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted. Her trial is scheduled for 12 July 2021.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Former US Attorney General William Barr criticised errors by jail personnel that he said contributed to Epstein's death.

Nathan described her "bottom line" conclusions in a two-page order.

A longer opinion explaining her reasoning will be filed after lawyers for Maxwell and the government propose redactions to account for potentially confidential information.

Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
When a Covid-19 vaccine for under 16's becomes available, will you be taking your children to get it?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, immediately!
38% - 3493 votes
I'll wait to see how others respond
26% - 2385 votes
No, I don't think they need it
37% - 3388 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo