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Ghislaine Maxwell: Jeffrey Epstein associate seeks $28.5m bail deal


image copyrightReuters

image captionA court sketch of Ghislaine Maxwell appearing at her arraignment hearing in July

Ghislaine Maxwell has asked a US judge to release her under a proposed $28.5m (£21.4m) bail package as she awaits trial on sex crime charges.

The British socialite is accused of helping the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein groom young girls.

A court filing released on Monday said Ms Maxwell “vehemently maintains her innocence” and asked to be freed from jail until her trial.

She wants instead to be confined to her home and protected by armed guards.

Judge Alison Nathan could rule on this latest bail request in New York by the end of the year.

Ms Maxwell’s previous request for bail when she was arrested in July was denied.

Ms Maxwell was in a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein in the 1990s. The financier died in a prison cell in August last year as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges, more than a decade after he was convicted for soliciting prostitution from a minor.

Four of the charges against Ms Maxwell relate to the years between 1994 and 1997, when prosecutors say she helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14. The other two charges are allegations of perjury in 2016.

She faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted in her trial, which is scheduled to begin next July.

media captionGhislaine Maxwell “helped exploit girls as young as 14-years-old”

The court filing released on Monday said that Ms Maxwell’s husband would post a bond to support her bail application. Financial documents within the filing said they had been married since 2016, but do not name her partner.

Her lawyers said the multi-million dollar bail proposal represents all of their joint assets, including three homes.

“Ms Maxwell wants to stay in New York and have her day in court so that she can clear her name and return to her family,” the filing reportedly said, adding that the 58-year-old was “not the person the media has portrayed her to be”.

Officials denied her initial request for bail when she was first arrested in July. At the time the court deemed she was a flight risk, despite her defence team denying this and alleging that she was at “serious risk” of contracting Covid-19 during her detention.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionJeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in New York in 2005

She was quarantined at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn last month after a staff member tested positive for the virus. Prison officials say she is treated like other inmates and that she remains in good health, despite her defence team saying she has suffered hair and weight loss.

The daughter of a late British media mogul, Ms Maxwell was in a relationship with Epstein. She allegedly introduced him to wealthy and powerful figures.

Epstein sex trafficking case: Timeline

  • 2005: One of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims, aged 14, reports him to the police in Palm Beach
  • 2006: Epstein is charged with unlawful sex acts with a minor
  • 2007: A plea deal is struck – instead of facing federal sex-trafficking charges, Epstein pleads guilty to two charges of soliciting prostitution, including with a minor
  • 2008: Epstein gets an 18-month sentence following the plea deal
  • November 2018: The Miami Herald publishes an explosive investigation into Epstein, the plea deal, and the dozens of women alleging abuse
  • July 2019: Epstein is arrested again, accused of sex trafficking of underage girls over a number of years
  • August 2019: Epstein is found dead in his prison cell while awaiting trial
  • 2 July 2020: Ghislaine Maxwell is arrested by the FBI at her New Hampshire home
  • 14 July 2020: Ms Maxwell pleads not guilty to charges of trafficking minors for Epstein and is denied bail
media captionRos Atkins has taken a look at the many remaining questions for Ghislaine Maxwell

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