Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail on charges of transporting minors for illegal sex acts
Women who accused Jeffrey Epstein associate of enabling abuse decry her 'heinous' actions
A U.S. judge on Tuesday denied bail for Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's longtime associate charged with luring young girls so the late financier could sexually abuse them, after she pleaded not guilty at a hearing in which two women decried her actions as heinous.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan rejected Maxwell's bid for bail, agreeing with prosecutors that the wealthy socialite posed a flight risk. Maxwell, the judge said during a hearing lasting more than two hours, has "demonstrated sophistication in hiding her resources and herself."
"No combination of conditions could reasonably assure her presence in court," Nathan said in ordering continued confinement.
Prosecutors have accused Maxwell, 58, of helping Epstein recruit and eventually abuse girls as young as 14 from 1994 to 1997 and lying about her role in depositions in 2016.
Nathan set a trial date for July 12, 2021.
Maxwell, 58, appeared by video from the Brooklyn jail where she is being held. She appeared tired, with her hair pulled back, and was wearing a brown T-shirt and tortoiseshell glasses.
Arrested on July 2, Maxwell has been charged with six criminal counts, including four related to transporting minors for sexual assaults and two for perjury. Nathan said the evidence at this stage "appears strong" against Maxwell, who faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.
Two women who have accused Maxwell of enabling their abuse testified at the hearing. One of them, Annie Farmer, said Maxwell "has never shown any remorse for her heinous crimes" and that "the danger Maxwell poses must be taken seriously."
"She is a sexual predator who groomed and abused me and countless other children and young women," Farmer told the court.
In a statement read to the court by federal prosecutor Alison Moe, an unidentified second woman said, "Without Ghislaine, Jeffrey could not have done what he did." The woman said she knew Maxwell for more than 10 years and still felt threatened, adding, "If she is out, I need to be protected."
Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of luring girls by asking them about their lives, schools and families and taking them shopping or to movies — "the prequel" to Epstein's abuse.
'Off the grid, indefinitely'
Maxwell's lawyers had sought a bail package including a $5-million US bond and home confinement with electronic monitoring.
Defence lawyer Mark Cohen had argued that Maxwell was not a flight risk and did not attempt to flee the premises when authorities arrived to arrest her. Maxwell was "not running out of the house, not looking for some secret tunnel," Cohen said.
He added Maxwell was being kept in a room at the jail with lights on at all times and at one point was not allowed to shower for 72 hours. Cohen also argued Maxwell could contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in jail.
But, in arguing against bail, Moe said Maxwell has demonstrated she can "live off the grid, indefinitely," noting it took a year after Epstein's arrest to find her. Prosecutors said her wealth and multiple citizenships — American, French and British — also supported the need for detention.
"The defendant has the ability to live in hiding. She's good at it," Moe told the court.
Maxwell, Epstein's former girlfriend and longtime associate, was arrested in Bradford, N.H., where authorities said she was hiding out at a sprawling property she bought in December in an all-cash transaction with her identity shielded.
Epstein was charged in July 2019 with sexually exploiting dozens of girls and women from 2002 to 2005 at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Fla. He hanged himself on Aug. 10 at age 66 in a Manhattan jail. Epstein has been linked socially to several powerful figures including U.S. President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew.