MANHATTAN (CN) — Accusing the government of scapegoating her to make up for its aborted prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell told a federal judge Wednesday that her relationship with the late pedophile is no reason to deny her bail.
“With regard to any other defendant, this record would readily support release on strict bail conditions, perhaps even on consent,” Maxwell’s attorney, Mark Cohen of Cohen & Gresser, wrote in the Wednesday filing. “But this is Ghislaine Maxwell, the apparent substitute for Jeffrey Epstein.”
Like many defendants in her position this year, Maxwell is leaning on the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason to grant bail, stating that her risk of contracting coronavirus is heightened by the daily inspections of her mouth that the government conducts on her at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where she has been held in solitary since July.
Arrested that month at a posh New Hampshire estate after months of living underground and evading authorities, Maxwell is accused of helping procure girls as young as 14 for Epstein to rape, while also taking part in the occasional forced sex act.
Cohen has repeatedly said his client has no intention of fleeing as “she would lose everything and destroy the family she has been fighting so hard to protect since Epstein’s arrest” if she did try to flee.
She had already been denied a request to leave strict solitary confinement and rejoin the general prison population at the MDC Brooklyn facility.
Prosecutors have scoffed at the idea of bail, however, noting Maxwell has “extensive financial resources and foreign ties” and could “live in hiding for the long term.” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss added at the time that Maxwell’s motion was merely a “repackaging [of] prior arguments” that had already been denied.
In the latest attempt at bail, Cohen states in the partially redacted filing that government officials have asked for the impossible from Maxwell’s legal team: an absolute guarantee against all flight risks.
“This is not the legal standard,” Cohen wrote, adding that the government has not challenged the bona fides of the family and close friends who would put up bail, that a former federal tax agent had signed off on Maxwell’s financial condition, and that Maxwell would submit to standard travel restrictions, including waiving her extradition rights from France and the United Kingdom.
“Under the Bail Reform Act, a defendant must be released unless there are ‘no conditions’ that would reasonably assure her presence,” Cohen wrote. “Here, the proposed package satisfies the actual governing standard, and the court should grant bail.”
The package Maxwell has proposed included a $22.5 million bond, which was co-signed by her unnamed spouse, as well as an additional $5 million in bonds from friends and family.
While Maxwell’s spouse is currently unnamed in court filings, some have speculated it is Scott Borgenson, the CEO of a data analytics company who is 15 years her junior. Borgenson has a home at Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts.
“Ms. Maxwell’s wealth is no the reason to deny her bail,” Cohen wrote. “It is a reason to set appropriately strict conditions that will result in significant financial consequences to Ms. Maxwell and her friends and family if she leaves the country. The proposed bail package does exactly that.”
Cohen argues that the prosecution’s case against Maxwell rests almost entirely on credibility and reliability of three witnesses, with the most damning claims coming only from one alleged victim. Prosecutors have said they may have additional witnesses.
The Jeffrey Epstein scandal has implicated a number of high-profile and rich individuals, including Prince Andrew and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, with having had sex with underage victims at Epstein’s private island and other properties.
Epstein did plead guilty in 2008 to procuring a child for prostitution but was given leniency from prosecutors. After new evidence came forth alleging that the financier had paid underage girls for massages, then molested and raped them, he was arrested again in July 2019.
Officials ruled his jail cell death the next month a suicide.
Maxwell was arrested last July at a 156-acre rural estate in New Hampshire after evading authorities for much of that past year. Officials said she bought the property in 2019 for about $1 million.
After her arrest, Maxwell was charged with sex trafficking and enticement of minors for her alleged role as a procurer of underage girls for Epstein, as well as perjury for allegedly lying under oath during a 2016 deposition. She has pleaded not guilty but faces a possible sentence of 35 years if convicted.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan is presiding.