Crime & Justice

Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail

New York, Jul 14 (EFE).- Ghislaine Maxwell, a long-time associate of the late Jeffrey Epstein, was denied bail Tuesday after pleading not guilty to charges she helped her former boyfriend recruit, groom and sexually abuse multiple underage girls in the 1990s.

“The government has met its burden of showing by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant is a risk of flight and that no combination of conditions could secure her presence at trial,” US District Judge Alison Nathan said, rejecting defense attorneys’ bid to have the 58-year-old British socialite freed on $5 million bond.

Due to Covid-19 precautions, Maxwell took part in the hearing in a Manhattan courtroom via videolink from the federal detention center in Brooklyn where she has been held since shortly after her July 2 arrest.

Federal prosecutors cited Maxwell’s millions of dollars in assets, multiple passports and extensive connections to argue that she would likely flee the United States given the opportunity.

They also pointed to the 35 years in prison she could face if convicted on four counts of procuring minors as young as 14 for Epstein’s purported sex-trafficking ring and two counts of perjury counts.

Defense counsel said that Maxwell would not have acquired the residence in Bradford, New Hampshire, where she was arrested if her intention had been to leave the US.

But prosecutors pointed out that Maxwell used a false name to purchase the home and surrounding 150 acres of land for $1 million through a front company.

The court also heard from one of the alleged victims of Maxwell and Epstein, Annie Farmer, who insisted that the defendant needed to remain locked up pending trial.

“She was a serial predator when she met and groomed me and countless other women,” Farmer said of her first encounter with Maxwell at the age of 16.

Nathan ultimately agreed with the prosecution, concluding that “the risks are simply too great” to grant bail.

With the trial set to start July 12, 2021, Maxwell can expect to spend at least a year behind bars.

“Not guilty, your honor,” was the defendant’s response earlier in the session when the judge asked her to enter a plea.

The charges against Maxwell were brought by the acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, whose office in July 2019 had charged Epstein with sex trafficking of minors between 2002 and 2005.

The case against Epstein was formally closed after the 66-year-old financier was found dead in his jail cell last August, in what coroners ruled a suicide, though experts retained by the dead man’s lawyers said he was murdered.

“This case against Ghislaine Maxwell is the prequel to the earlier case we brought against Jeffrey Epstein,” Strauss said on July 2. “These charges announced today are the latest results of our investigation into Epstein and the people around him who facilitated his abuse of minor victims. That investigation remains ongoing.”

The crimes in the Maxwell case date back to the years between 1994 and 1997, when the daughter of disgraced British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell (1923-1991) was in an intimate relationship with Epstein and also managed different properties of his in New York City; Palm Beach, Florida; and Santa Fe, Mexico.

According to the indictment, the alleged sexual abuse occurred at those properties and also at Maxwell’s home in London.

Epstein, the source of whose wealth was never entirely clear, numbered many powerful people among his friends, including former US President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew. EFE


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