Ghislaine Maxwell’s attorneys on Friday asked for her release on $5 million bond, arguing that she has maintained communication with prosecutors and is at risk for COVID-19 if she remains confined in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.
Maxwell, the longtime confidante of Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested July 2 in New Hampshire and charged with helping the deceased financier run a sex trafficking ring involving girls as young as 14. Epstein died by suicide in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center in August.
Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have argued that Maxwell should be detained while she awaits trial, describing the former British socialite and naturalized U.S. citizen as an “extreme” risk to flee the country.
“In short, Maxwell has three passports, large sums of money, extensive international connections, and absolutely no reason to stay in the United States and face the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence,” they wrote in a 10-page detention memo.
Maxwell’s proposed $5 million bond would be co-signed by six people, including siblings and relatives, and would be secured by real property in the United Kingdom worth over $3.75 million, Maxwell’s attorney Mark S. Cohen of Cohen & Gresser wrote.
According to the government’s detention memo, Maxwell had more than 15 bank accounts that have held as much as $20 million since 2016. She had “effectively been hiding for approximately a year” at a 156-acre home in Bradford, New Hampshire, which she had acquired in an all-cash purchase through a “carefully anonymized LLC,” prosecutors wrote.
As proposed by Maxwell’s legal team, her conditions of release would include home confinement with electronic monitoring at a residence in the Southern District, surrender of her travel documents and restriction of travel to New York City and Long Island for court appearances and visits with her attorneys. Legal communication while Maxwell has been in the MDC has been a challenge, Cohen explained.
Her visitors would also be restricted to “immediate family, close friends and counsel,” Cohen wrote, and Maxwell would have security guards whom she previously hired due to a “crushing onslaught” of media attention.
“Ms. Maxwell, for personal reasons, will continue to need security guards to protect her upon release,” Cohen wrote. “Under the circumstances, if the Court requires it, the security guards could report to Pretrial Services.”
Cohen argued that similar release conditions have been approved in other high-profile cases, including that of Ponzi scheme leader Bernard Madoff, and should be approved here.
Cohen also previewed the team’s arguments in Maxwell’s defense, including that her prosecution is barred by Epstein’s 2007 non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice and that several of the charges against her are time-barred.
“As we understand from the face of the indictment, the government’s case is based primarily on the testimony of three individuals about events that allegedly occurred roughly 25 years ago between 1994 and 1997,” Cohen wrote. “It is inherently more difficult to prosecute cases relating to decades-old conduct. These issues further call into question the strength of the government’s case, and provide an independent basis justifying release on bail.”
Cohen argued that Maxwell’s decision to remain in the United States after Epstein’s arrest shows that she does not present a risk of flight. She has been in contact with prosecutors and would have voluntarily surrendered if she had been asked to do so, he wrote, adding that travel restrictions related to coronavirus will inhibit her ability to flee.
Cohen disputed the idea, put forth by prosecutors, that Maxwell was “hiding” from the law when she dropped out of the public eye after Epstein’s arrest. She was trying to protect herself and her friends and family from aggressive media attention, he wrote.
Maxwell similarly chose not to propose some family members and friends as co-signers to “safeguard their privacy and protect them and their families from harm,” Cohen wrote. Some of Maxwell’s close friends who had “nothing whatsoever to do with Epstein” have suffered severe reputational damage and even lost their jobs because they were associated with her, he wrote.
“The ‘open season’ declared on Ms. Maxwell after Epstein’s death has come with an even darker cost—she has been the target of alarming physical threats, even death threats, and has had to hire security guards to ensure her safety,” he wrote. “The media feeding frenzy, which has only intensified in recent months, has also deeply affected her family and friends.”
Maxwell’s legal team also includes Cohen’s law partner Christian Everdell and Haddon, Morgan and Foreman attorneys Jeffrey Pagliuca and Laura Menninger, according to court papers.
The government’s reply to Maxwell’s proposal is due Monday, and her bail hearing will be held virtually Tuesday.
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