Jeffrey Epstein's former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail in US

Ghislaine Maxwell has US$28.5 million bail denied in US.
Ghislaine Maxwell. Photo credit: Getty

A US judge has denied bail to Ghislaine Maxwell, citing the risk the British socialite might flee from charges she assisted in the late financier Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking of girls.

US District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan said federal prosecutors persuaded her that Maxwell "poses a flight risk" despite her proposed US$28.5 million bail package, and should remain jailed because "no conditions of release" reasonably assured she would appear in court.

Lawyers for Maxwell did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom girls as young as 14 years old for sex in the mid-1990s, and not guilty to perjury for denying her involvement under oath.

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

The proposed bail package included US$22.5 million posted by Maxwell and her husband, as well as home confinement with electronic monitoring and 24-hour guard to ensure Maxwell remained safe and would not escape.

Donald Trump and Melania with convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on February 12, 2000.
Donald and Melania Trump with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on February 12, 2000. Photo credit: Getty

Maxwell said she wanted to stay in New York to clear her name, while her lawyers objected to jail conditions including invasive searches and surveillance by flashlight-toting guards who woke her every 15 minutes to ensure she was still breathing.

But Nathan, who rejected a US$5 million bail package for Maxwell in July, said none of the new arguments had a "material bearing" on whether Maxwell was a flight risk.

In opposing bail, prosecutors cited Maxwell's abilities to hide her wealth and evade capture, and the prospect she might flee to France or the UK, where she holds citizenships and they said she might elude extradition.

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

Epstein, 66, is said to have killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Former US Attorney General William Barr criticised errors by jail personnel that he said contributed to Epstein's death.

Nathan described her "bottom line" conclusions in a two-page order. A longer opinion explaining her reasoning will be filed after lawyers for Maxwell and the government propose redactions to account for potentially confidential information.