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Judge denies bail for Ghislaine Maxwell after she pleads not guilty in Jeffrey Epstein sex crimes case

Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, speaks at a news conference on oceans and sustainable development at the United Nations in New York, U.S. June 25, 2013 in this screengrab taken from United Nations TV file footage.

UNTV | Reuters

A year after her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein unsuccessfully sought to win release on a stunning $100 million bail proposal, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is set to ask a judge to free her on a $5 million bond as she fights charges that she conspired with the now-dead financier to sexually abuse young girls.

Federal prosecutors have asked that Maxwell, 58, be detained without bail on sex and perjury charges, calling her an “extreme” flight risk due to her millions of dollars in wealth, and her talent for “hiding.”

They also argued that one of the three countries where she holds citizenship is France, which does not extradite its own citizens on criminal charges.

In a filing Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, prosecutors told Judge Alison Nathan that when the FBI went to arrest Maxwell on July 2 in a $1 million New Hampshire home, she ignored an order “to open the door and, instead, [tried] to flee to another room in the house, quickly shutting a door behind her.”

Prosecutors said that since her arrest, other people have come forward to bolster their case against her.

Maxwell’s lawyers, in turn, are asking Nathan to set a personal recognizance bond for Maxwell in the amount of $5 million. Defense attorneys have said the bond would be secured by six unidentified co-signers, as well as by property in Britain worth $3.75 million.

The lawyers also propose that Maxwell, who is the first person other than Epstein to be charged in connection with his alleged sex crimes, be confined to a residence in New York, with electronic monitoring, as a condition of her bail.

“Ms. Maxwell vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” her lawyers, Mark Cohen and Jeffrey Pagliuca, wrote in a court filing last week.

Maxwell, the daughter of the dead crooked British media baron Robert Maxwell, currently is being held without bail in a federal jail in Brooklyn. She will appear remotely via videoconference for Tuesday’s detention hearing.

She is charged with with conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury.

The hearing comes a day after the Bloomberg news service reported that Maxwell is also under investigation by the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Justice Department for her alleged participation in Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation. Epstein owned a large private island in the Virgin Islands, which was locally known as “Pedophile Island.”

Wealthy investor Epstein was arrested in early July 2019 on child sex trafficking charges lodged in Manhattan federal court. Prosecutors accused him of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls from 2002 through 2005 at his luxurious residences in Manhattan and in Palm Beach, Fla. An indictment against Epstein said he got access to those victims with the assistance of unidentified conspirators.

Weeks after being denied bail, Epstein, who was a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, was found semi-conscious on the floor of his cell in federal jail in Manhattan, with marks on his neck.

In August, Epstein, 66, died from what authorities have ruled was a suicide by hanging in the same jail. Two jail guards who were supposed to check on Epstein are being criminally prosecuted for having allegedly tried to cover up their failure to monitor him and other inmates on the night that he died.

After Epstein died, prosecutors vowed to continue to investigate his alleged co-conspirators. Maxwell was the most prominent of the people suspected of facilitating Epstein’s allege rampant serial sexual abuse of young girls and women.

When she was arrested earlier this month, Maxwell was charged in a six-count indictment with helping Epstein in the mid-1990s recruit and groom underage girls, at least one as young as 14 years old, so that he could sexually abuse them at his residences in New York, Florida and New Mexico, as well as at Maxwell’s home in London.

“In some instances, Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims,” the indictment charges.

Maxwell also “repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct” during a legal deposition in 2016 as part of a lawsuit by one of Epstein’s accusers, according to the charging document.

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