May 15, 2021

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Ghislaine Maxwell seeks release on $5M bail

Ghislaine Maxwell speaks at the Arctic Circle Forum in Reykjavik, Iceland October 2013.

The Arctic Circle via Reuters

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite criminally charged with facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls, on Friday asked for bail of $5 million, and argues that her prosecution is barred by a non-prosecution deal that the now-dead Epstein signed with federal authorities years ago.

Maxwell, who has been held without bail since being arrested last week in New Hampshire, also proposes in a new court filing that she be released into home confinement in New York as her criminal case proceeds.

A bail hearing in her case is scheduled for Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan.

Her lawyers, Mark Cohen and Jeffrey Pagliuca, in their filing suggested that a judge set a personal recognizance bond for her in the amount of $5 million, to be secured  by six co-signers as well as by property in Britain worth $3.75 million.

The attorneys said that the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on prisoners warrants Maxwell’s release on bail, as does the fact that Maxwell “has strong ties to the community,” holds American citizenship and has resided in the U.S. for decades.

They are offering to have her barred from accepting visits under home confinement from anyone other than family, close friends and lawyers, and say that she would have a security staff.

Prosecutors previously have said they want Maxwell detained without bail, calling her an extreme flight risk. Prosecutors have noted she holds several passports, citizenship in three countries, including Britain and France, and is wealthy.

Maxwell, 58, was arrested at a 156-acre property in Bradford, N.H. on July 2 on a six-count indictment that was issued by a federal grand jury in Manhattan.

She is accused of conspiring with Epstein to sexually abuse children as young as 14 in the mid-1990s, and for lying about her alleged conduct as his procurer.

“Ms. Maxwell vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” her lawyers wrote in Friday’s court filing.

Epstein, 66, died from what has been ruled a suicide by hanging last August in a federal jail in Manhattan while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges that related to alleged conduct from 2002 through 2005 involving dozens of underage girls. His death came after a judge denied him bail.

A wealthy investor, Epstein was a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, as well as of Britain’s Prince Andrew.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to Florida state criminal charges that included paying for sex with an underage girl, and served 13 months in jail.

That plea came after Epstein cut a deal with federal prosecutors in south Florida to avoid prosecution on federal charges in exchange for admitting guilt in the state case.

Maxwell’s lawyers in Friday’s filing wrote that her “prosecution is barred by Epstein’s September 24, 2007 non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice,” which they wrote “covers any potential co-conspirators of Epstein.”

The lawyers said the charges against her of “conspiracy, enticement of minors, and transporting of minors charges are time-barred and otherwise legally flawed,” and that the two perjury charges “are subject to dismissal on several legal grounds.”

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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