U.S. says Ghislaine Maxwell should stay behind bars, deserves no bail

FILE PHOTO: Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announces charges against Ghislaine Maxwel in New York
Charges are announced against Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein in New York City, New York, U.S., July 2, 2020.
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

U.S. prosecutors on Friday said Ghislaine Maxwell, the former associate of Jeffrey Epstein charged with helping enable his sexual abuses, should remain in jail, and urged a federal judge to reject her proposed $28.5 million bail package.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, prosecutors said the charges against Maxwell are “incredibly serious,” the evidence against her is strong, and that she poses an “extreme flight risk.”

Maxwell, 58, has been living in a Brooklyn jail since July, when she pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom underage girls for sex in the mid-1990s, and not guilty to perjury for having denied involvement under oath.

Her trial is scheduled for next July, and she faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

In a bail application made public on Dec. 14, Maxwell proposed living with electronic monitoring in a New York City residence, and under 24-hour guard to ensure she remains safe and does not flee.

The bail application also said Maxwell “vehemently maintains her innocence,” and wanted to fight allegations based on uncorroborated testimony about events occurring more than 25 years ago.

Prosecutors, however, labeled the request as a “repackaging” of arguments Maxwell made in July when U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan rejected her proposed $5 million bail package. Nathan will also decide Maxwell’s latest request.

Maxwell has proposed posting a $22.5 million bond, representing all assets belonging to her and her husband, secured by $8.5 million of property and cash. The remaining bail would be posted by friends, family and a security specialist.

Authorities arrested Maxwell on July 2 at her New Hampshire home, which prosecutors said she used as a hideout.

Her husband, who was not identified in Monday’s filing, said she moved there to protect her safety and escape the media frenzy over the Epstein case, not to elude prosecutors.

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