Prosecutors in Ghislaine Maxwell case say proposed $5 million bond is 'effectively meaningless'

Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY
·3 min read

WASHINGTON – The government is doubling down in its bid to keep Ghislaine Maxwell in jail while awaiting trial and expressed skepticism about the proposed bail package secured by foreign property, calling it "effectively meaningless."

Maxwell's attorneys have proposed a $5 million bond, secured by properties in the U.S. and Great Britain. But prosecutors on Monday said the package "amounts to little more than an unsecured bond" because the property Maxwell is pledging as collateral is outside American jurisdiction and "therefore is of no value."

Her bail hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Maxwell, a British socialite and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested and charged this month with helping to procure young victims for the disgraced financier's child sex trafficking operation that began more than 25 years ago.

A federal grand jury in New York indicted Maxwell on perjury and conspiracy charges that accuse her of helping Epstein “recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims” between 1994 and 1997. Both allegedly knew the victims were under age 18 and as young as 14.

'Not Epstein': Attorneys argue for bail for Ghislaine Maxwell, cite COVID threat

Jeffrey Epstein was connected to many celebrities, scientists and politicians. A who's who of his network, explained.

Inner circle: Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's former girlfriend
Jeffrey Epstein was connected to many celebrities, scientists and politicians. A who's who of his network, explained. Inner circle: Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's former girlfriend

Since the arrest, investigators have talked to more witnesses who want to provide information about Maxwell. "The Government is in the process of receiving and reviewing this additional evidence, which has the potential to make the Government's case even stronger," prosecutors said.

In court filings ahead of Tuesday's bail hearing, prosecutors reasserted their claim that she is a flight risk, citing her vast financial resources and citizenship in multiple countries, including one that does not extradite to the U.S. They said Maxwell has a track record of living in hiding and has not been forthcoming about details of her wealth, which they said would reveal her financial means to escape.

Prosecutors also revealed new information about Maxwell's arrest on July 2 at a remote and massive New Hampshire property, which they said was guarded by former members of the British military hired by Maxwell's brother.

"As the agents approached the front door of the main house, they announced themselves as FBI agents and directed the defendant to open the door. Through a window, the agents saw the defendant ignore the direction to open the door and, instead, try to flee to another room in the house, quickly shutting a door behind her," prosecutors wrote.

Agents later found Maxwell in one of the rooms. They also found a cellphone wrapped in foil, "a seemingly misguided attempt to evade detection."

More: Days after Ghislaine Maxwell's arrest, Epstein accuser demands investigation into sexual battery allegation

Jeffrey Epstein's inner circle
Jeffrey Epstein's inner circle

Aside from the $5 million bond, Maxwell's attorneys offered to surrender all her travel documents and home confinement with electronic monitoring. They also cited the coronavirus threat while attempting to distance her from the disgraced financier.

"Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein," defense lawyers said in court documents Friday.

"Ms. Maxwell vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence," attorneys asserted, adding that she had not attempted to flee the United States following Epstein's arrest and jail suicide last year. "She should be treated like any other defendant who comes before this Court, including as to bail."

While acknowledging the threat of the pandemic, prosecutors said Maxwell, who's being held at a federal facility in Brooklyn, has not claimed that she faces a higher risk from COVID-19 exposure than other inmates.

Contributing: Kevin Johnson

Ghislaine Maxwell: She's accused of grooming Epstein's victims

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ghislaine Maxwell: Prosecutors reject bond bid for Epstein associate