For a third time, judge rejects bail for Ghislaine Maxwell

NEW YORK (AP) — For a third time, a judge rejected a bail package Monday aimed at freeing Ghislaine Maxwell as the ex-girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein awaits trial on charges that she recruited teenage girls for him to sexually abuse.

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan in Manhattan said in a written decision that nothing had changed since her previous two rulings in the matter.

Lawyers for the 59-year-old Maxwell, whose trial is set for July, argued that defense motions to dismiss the charges against her and an offer to renounce her U.K. and France citizenships were significant enough to assure the court she would show up for trial.

They also said she would have a retired federal judge provide oversight authority over her financial affairs. A Maxwell lawyer did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

“The Court’s assessment of the Defendant’s history and characteristics has not changed,” the judge wrote. “The Defendant continues to have substantial international ties, familial and personal connections abroad, substantial financial resources, and experience evading detection.”

As to the offer to renounce citizenships, the judge said “considerable uncertainty regarding the enforceability and practical impact of the renunciations cloud whatever relevance they might otherwise have to the Court’s assessment of whether the Defendant poses a risk of flight.”

She added: “And that same uncertainty — and the possibility that she will be able to successfully resist, or at least delay, extradition — incentivizes flight, particularly because of the Defendant’s substantial international ties.”

The judge noted that Maxwell, who is a U.S. citizen, wanted to retain control over $450,000 of her assets to cover living expenses, along with other assets, including jewelry and other personal property potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“While those amounts may be a small percentage of the Defendant’s total assets, they represent a still-substantial amount that could easily facilitate flight,” Nathan said.

The judge also said she continues to have concerns that Maxwell exhibited a “lack of candor regarding her assets when she was first arrested.”

Several weeks ago, the judge rejected a bail package in which lawyers for Maxwell offered to pledge $28.5 million toward bail, including $22.5 million belonging to Maxwell and her husband.

The lawyers also said Maxwell could remain in a New York City dwelling with armed guards who would ensure she would not flee.

Nathan noted that the sex abuse charges against Maxwell carry a presumption of detention that is unlike other cases in which bail is presumed to be a more likely outcome.

Last July, Maxwell was arrested at a $1 million New Hampshire estate where prosecutors claimed she was attempting to hide from law enforcement. Maxwell’s lawyers have insisted that she went there to protect her family and herself against threats and to evade the scrutiny of the media.

Prosecutors claim Maxwell recruited at least three teenage girls in the 1990s for Epstein to sexually abuse and sometimes joined in the abuse. She has pleaded not guilty.

Epstein killed himself in August 2019 as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

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