I’m Not Epstein, Says Ghislaine Maxwell, Seeking $5M Bail

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is driven by Britain’s Prince Andrew, leaving the 2000 wedding of a former girlfriend of the prince, Aurelia Cecil, at the Parish Church of St Michael in Compton Chamberlayne near Salisbury, England. (Chris Ison/PA via AP, File)

(CN) — Drawing the battle lines for a bail hearing next Tuesday, attorneys for Ghislaine Maxwell proposed a $5 million bond in a memo attempting to distinguish their client from the man behind the child sex-trafficking scandal of global notoriety.

“Sometimes the simplest point is the most critical one: Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein,” Maxwell’s attorney Mark Cohen, from the firm Cohen & Gresser, wrote in a 25-page memo.

The proposed bond would be secured by Maxwell’s home in London worth an estimated $3.75 million and signed by six of her associates. If granted, Maxwell would be subject to electronic monitoring and pretrial supervision and would not be able to travel outside the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Labeling Maxwell an “extreme risk of flight” last week, federal prosecutors made clear that they do not view any set of conditions to be stringent enough to keep Epstein’s former girlfriend and accused partner in crime from appearing at trial.

“The charges in this case are unquestionably serious: the indictment alleges that Ghislaine Maxwell, in partnership with Jeffrey Epstein, a serial sexual predator, exploited and abused young girls for years,” prosecutors wrote in a memo released the day her indictment was unsealed. “As a result of her disturbing and callous conduct, Maxwell now faces the very real prospect of serving many years in prison.”

Facing six charges with a maximum 35-year sentence, Maxwell has citizenship in three countries and an estimated fortune many times larger than her proposed bail. Prosecutors linked more than a dozen bank accounts either controlled by or associated with her, the largest holding more than $20 million in assets. Authorities arrested Maxwell in a 156-acre property in Bradford, New Hampshire, whose purchase prosecutors traced to an all-cash through a “carefully anonymized LLC,” a form of corporation favored for eluding detection. 

This photo of Jeffrey Epstein embracing Ghislaine Maxwell was included in the Maxwell’s federal indictment filed Thursday in New York. (Credit: SDNY via Courthouse News)

Maxwell denies the allegation that she spent the year since Epstein’s arrest on the lam.

“Indeed, on July 7, 2019, the day after Epstein’s arrest, Ms. Maxwell reached out to the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, through counsel, and maintained regular contact with them right up to the point of her arrest,” her attorneys assert.

Maxwell’s legal team notes that they had been fighting civil litigation in the Southern District of New York before her indictment, and she describes her low profile as an attempt to avoid press coverage and death threats.

“A headline reminiscent of a Wild West wanted poster read: ‘WANTED: The Sun is offering a £10,000 reward for information on Jeffrey Epstein pal Ghislaine Maxwell,’” her memo states. “And in the days leading up to her arrest, there was a deluge of media reports (all untrue) claiming that Ms. Maxwell was hiding out in an apartment in Paris to avoid questioning by the FBI. She has seen helicopters flying over her home and reporters hiding in the bushes.”

Prosecutors say those efforts to avoid detection have been byzantine, involving at least two moves, registration of a phone under the name “G Max,” and ordering packages under a different person’s name.

Holding U.S., U.K., and French passports, Maxwell allegedly keeps a large portion of her cash abroad.

“She has also reported, including as recently as 2019, that she holds one or more foreign bank accounts containing more than a million dollars,” prosecutors wrote.

They declined to comment on Maxwell’s memo, which is silent on her New Hampshire property and murky finance, an issue likely to erupt at her bail hearing. Financial regulators in New York recently leveled a $150 million fine against Deutsche Bank for turning a blind eye to suspicious cash withdrawals tied to Jeffrey Epstein, in violation of anti-money laundering policies.

Deutsche Bank’s consent order shields the names of Epstein’s accused co-conspirators, without explicitly mentioning Maxwell.

If she wants to secure her pretrial release, Maxwell will face a tough road ahead. A federal judge denied Epstein’s request to spend the lead-up to trial in his New York mansion almost exactly one year earlier. Next week’s hearing will take place before a different judge and a different set of circumstances. The coronavirus pandemic will ensure that, unlike the Epstein hearing, it will take place remotely.

Both cases, however, will likely include testimony by Epstein and Maxwell’s accusers, who have been invited to appear under federal laws designed to protect child victims. Prosecutors will make a final written pitch in support of Maxwell’s detention on Monday, the day before her hotly anticipated arraignment and bail hearing.

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