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Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail after pleading not guilty to luring minors for Jeffrey Epstein for sex abuse

Maxwell’s lawyer had sought her release on a $5 million bond and many, before the hearing, had expected Maxwell to get bail but the judge, however, noted that Maxwell was a flight risk
UPDATED JUL 14, 2020
Ghislaine Maxwell (Getty Images)
Ghislaine Maxwell (Getty Images)

Ghislaine Maxwell, one-time girlfriend and alleged accomplice of accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein pleaded not guilty at a Manhattan federal court hearing on Tuesday, July 14, on charges that she helped recruit, groom and abuse minors as young as 14.

The 58-year-old British socialite has been charged with six felonies -- enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury, according to the federal indictment unsealed last week.

“In some instances, Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims,” the indictment charges noted. They also said that Maxwell “repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct” during a legal deposition in 2016 as part of a lawsuit by one of Epstein’s accusers.

Maxwell appeared remotely via teleconference from the Metropolitan Detention Center due to the coronavirus pandemic. When asked how she wished to plead, she answered "not guilty, your honor."

Maxwell’s lawyer had sought her release on a $5 million bond. Many, before the hearing, had expected Maxwell to get bail. The judge, however, noted that Maxwell was a flight risk. Judge Alison Nathan, taking note of the prosecutors' arguments regarding her wealth, citizenship in Britain and France, and lack of strong family or business ties in the United States, denied that bail request.

Maxwell’s lawyer argued that denial of bail to Epstein was based on the argument that he was a danger to the community and that was an argument that the government hadn’t made about Maxwell. Judge Nathan said that the “seriousness” of Maxwell’s alleged crimes was a reason she would have to flee and said no bail condition, or combination of conditions, would ensure she would willingly appear in court on the charges. 

During the hearing, Annie Farmer, one of three women whose claims are the basis for the case against Maxwell, told the judge that she should deny the bail request, saying, “She was a serial predator when she met and groomed me and countless other women.

Farmer claims she first met Maxwell when she was 16 years old. “Those that survived, implore this court that she be detained pending trial,” she said. A second accuser, identified as Jane Doe, said in a statement read to the judge, “Without Ghislaine, Jeffrey could not have done what he did.”

Judge Nathan then set a trial date of July 12, 2021. Prosecutors reportedly estimated the trial could take two or three weeks. Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted of the crimes.

Epstein was arrested in early July 2019 on child sex trafficking charges lodged in Manhattan federal court. Prosecutors accused the financier of sexually abusing several underage girls from 2002 through 2005 at his residences in Manhattan and in Palm Beach, Florida. Weeks after being denied bail, Epstein was found semiconscious on the floor of his cell in a federal jail in Manhattan, with marks on his neck.