Ghislaine Maxwell may get bail amid Covid-19 threat, not fleeing US after Epstein's death may work in her favor
Last week, Maxwell's attorneys argued that their client should be released on a $5 million bond if she turned over her travel documents and agreed to remain in the New York area until her trial or plea deal
Former prosecutors said it is possible that Ghislaine Maxwell receives bail when she's arraigned on Tuesday on sex-trafficking charges. Former federal prosecutor Jaimie Nawaday told the New York Post how the coronavirus outbreak in the federal prison system coupled with the fact that Maxwell didn't flee the country after ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein died under suspicious circumstances could work to her advantage. “I think this one is a close case. Epstein had no chance at all at bail. She’s in a very different position,” Nawaday said.
Prosecutors argued for Maxwell's remand in a detention memo filed after her arrest. They noted how she's an "extreme" flight risk considering her vast net worth, multiple passports, as well as connections to influential people in European countries such as France and England.
According to Nawaday, that might have been enough to keep Maxwell in prison under normal circumstances. However, she noted that the Covid-19 outbreak has upended typical bail agreements. “All bail arguments look a little bit different now given Covid. That’s definitely in her favor,” Nawaday said. “More and more there is a push toward home confinement, especially holding people pretrial, when you still have the presumption of innocence.”
Nawaday used to work in the Southern District of New York office that is prosecuting Maxwell. She said she would guess that Manhattan federal Judge Alison Nathan would grant Maxwell home confinement.
But Jennifer Rodgers, another former prosecutor who worked in the SDNY, disagreed. According to her, Maxwell would mostly be remanded in custody.
“Maxwell has wealth, multiple passports, strong connections outside of the US, and a strong incentive to flee given the serious penalties she faces. The argument that she is a flight risk is strong,” Rodgers told The Post.
She added that Maxwell may not have a very strong case to be released from prison despite the fact that the coronavirus pandemic adds an unknown factor. “Unless there are underlying health issues that haven’t been reported, Maxwell is healthy and not old enough at 58 to fall in a high-risk group, so I don’t think the COVID crisis will work in her favor,” Rodgers said.
The former British socialite and media heiress is reportedly facing 35 years in jail for her role in procuring underage girls in the US as well as in England for Epstein to abuse sexually. Furthermore, she is also accused of lying about her alleged crimes under oath during a previous deposition.
Last week, Maxwell's attorneys argued that their client should be released on a $5 million bond if she turned over her travel documents and agreed to remain in the New York area until her trial or plea deal. They highlighted the fact that Maxwell, although having disappeared after Epstein's apparent suicide last year, did not flee from the United States.
According to Nawaday, this will probably work in her favor at Tuesday's bail hearing. “She obviously could have left the country, she didn’t. She was keeping a low profile here. I don’t think that shows a risk of flight,” she said.