Ghislaine Maxwell is denied bail by US judge

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A US judge has denied Ghislaine Maxwell bail, saying the risk that the British party could flee from charges she assisted in the late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trade with girls.

U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan said federal prosecutors had convinced her that Maxwell posed a “flight risk” despite her proposed $ 28.5 million bail package and should remain in jail because “no conditions of release” reasonably ensured that she will not appear in court.

Maxwell’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.

Maxwell, 59, pleaded not guilty in the mid-1990s to helping Epstein recruit girls as young as 14 for sex and for groom, and innocent of perjury because she denied her involvement under oath.

She was jailed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn after her July 2 arrest at her home in New Hampshire, where prosecutors said she was hiding.

The proposed bail package included $ 22.5 million posted by Maxwell and her husband, as well as the house lock with electronic monitoring and 24-hour guard to ensure Maxwell stays safe and will not escape.

Maxwell has said she wants to stay in New York to clear her name while her lawyers object to the conditions of the jail, including in-depth investigations and surveillance by flashlight guards who wake her up every 15 minutes to ensure she still breathing.

But Nathan, who rejected a $ 5 million bail package for Maxwell in July, said none of the new arguments had a significant impact on whether Maxwell was an aviation risk.

Prosecutors said Maxwell’s ability to hide her wealth and evade evasion, and the prospect that she would flee to France or the United Kingdom, where she has citizenship.

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

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

Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr has criticized the mistakes of prison staff, which he said contributed to Epstein’s death.

Nathan described her conclusions in a two-page order. A lengthy piece of advice explaining her reasoning will be submitted after lawyers for Maxwell and the government made suggestions for the confidential information.

(Reported by Jonathan Stempel in New York; edited by Leslie Adler and Richard Chang)