By: JAMES HILL, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A $28 million proposed bail package and letters of support from more than a dozen relatives and friends failed to persuade a federal judge to release Ghislaine Maxwell from custody in advance of her criminal trial next year.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, in a brief order Monday, denied Maxwell’s second attempt at pretrial release, concluding that none of the new information altered the court’s previous determination that Maxwell, an alleged co-conspirator of deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, posed a flight risk if granted bail.
“[T]he Court again concludes that no conditions of release can reasonably assure [Maxwell’s] appearance at future proceedings,” Nathan wrote.
Maxwell’s legal team spent months preparing what they billed as a “comprehensive bail package” containing “substantial information” that was not available to present to the court at Maxwell’s initial detention hearing in July. Several friends and family, whose names were redacted from the public court filings, had pledged assets and offered to co-sign the bond.
The renewed bail application also revealed for the first time that Maxwell, 59, has been married since 2016. Her husband wrote in a letter to the court that he had “never witnessed anything close to inappropriate with Ghislaine; quite to the contrary, the Ghislaine I know is a wonderful and loving person.”
But prosecutors continued to oppose Maxwell’s release, arguing that she remained an “extreme flight risk” because of her foreign ties, her alleged “lack of candor” with the court and her “willingness and sophisticated ability to live in hiding,” according to court documents.
The government balked at the notion that her marriage would keep her from fleeing the country and faulted Maxwell for an “apparent willingness to deceive” the court initially about her spouse and assets after her arrest.
Maxwell’s lawyers claimed prosecutors had effectively ignored her new arguments and were holding her to an “impossible standard” because of the government’s acknowledged failures in connection with Epstein’s death while in federal custody last year.
“With regard to any other defendant, this record would readily support release on strict bail conditions, perhaps even on consent. But this is Ghislaine Maxwell, the apparent substitute for Jeffrey Epstein,” wrote Maxwell attorney Mark S. Cohen in a court filing earlier this month.
Judge Nathan has temporarily sealed the analysis and explanation for her decision until her order is reviewed by Maxwell’s lawyers and prosecutors for “potentially confidential information” that should be redacted before the document is made public.
Maxwell, the youngest daughter of the late British publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, has been held in a federal detention center in Brooklyn, New York, since early July. She pleaded not guilty to a six-count indictment alleging that she conspired with Epstein in a multi-state sex trafficking scheme involving three unnamed minor victims between 1994 and 1997.
Prosecutors contend Maxwell not only “befriended” and later “enticed and groomed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Epstein, through a variety of means and methods,” but was also, at times, “present for and involved” in the abuse herself. She also faces two perjury charges for alleged false statements she made in 2016 during depositions in a civil lawsuit against her.
Maxwell’s trial is scheduled for July 2021.
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