By JAMES HILL, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Six months after a federal judge determined Ghislaine Maxwell to be a flight risk and ordered her detained until trial, the accused co-conspirator of deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein intends to present a proposed bail package of $28.5 million in a renewed effort to be released from jail before the end of the year, ABC News has learned.
More than $22 million of the assets pledged to secure the proposed bond will come from the combined resources of Maxwell and her husband, with the remainder to be posted by a handful of close family and friends, according to a person familiar with Maxwell’s intentions.
The forthcoming bail application, expected to be in front of U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in the coming days, will also be the first public acknowledgement from Maxwell that she is, in fact, married, the person said.
At a detention hearing shortly after Maxwell’s arrest in July, a federal prosecutor told the court that Maxwell had refused to provide information about the identity or assets of her previously unknown spouse.
Maxwell’s legal team first signaled their intention to take a second crack at securing pretrial release for their client in a pair of letters to the court last month that were redacted to conceal the identities of the family members and friends of Maxwell who were offering to co-sign the bond.
“Ms. Maxwell and her counsel have assembled substantial information that was not available to present at the initial hearing [in July], as well as a comprehensive bail package co-signed by sureties who were unable to come forward at that time,” wrote Christian Everdell, an attorney for Maxwell, on Nov. 25.
The proposed bail package, Everdell wrote, will include letters from family and friends that contain details that — if made public — would “invite identification and harassment of the sureties and other third parties, including minor children.” The co-signers are “legitimately afraid” that if their names become public, they will be subjected to the “same relentless media scrutiny and threats that Ms. Maxwell has experienced for more than a year,” Everdell wrote.
Also to be included, according to Everdell’s letter, is a financial report prepared by a professional accounting firm that “provides a summary of Ms. Maxwell’s financial condition from 2015-2020 and discloses all of her assets, all assets held in trust, and assets held by other family members.”
At Maxwell’s initial detention hearing in July, federal prosecutors conceded that they were not alleging that Maxwell presented a danger to society if released on bail, but argued that her finances were “opaque” and that she was the “very definition of a flight risk.”
“She has three passports, large sums of money, extensive international connections, and absolutely no reason to stay in the United States to face a potential significant term of incarceration,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe.
Maxwell’s renewed bail proposal will attempt to counter those concerns by emphasizing her marriage, her family connections to the U.S. and her commitment to stay and fight the charges, according to the person familiar with her plans. Her proposal will also include a waiver of her right to seek extradition from England and France, the two countries besides the U.S. where she holds citizenship.
Maxwell, 58, is the Oxford-educated daughter of Robert Maxwell, the larger-than-life publishing baron whose rags-to-riches story captivated England. She lived an extravagant life among the British elite until her father’s business empire collapsed in the wake of his death in 1991. She decamped to New York looking for a fresh start and was soon seen in the company of the mysterious multimillionaire Epstein.
In a letter to a Florida state prosecutor related to Epstein’s 2008 guilty plea, Epstein’s attorneys described his relationship with Maxwell as one of two “long-term intimate relationships” Epstein had in adulthood. Maxwell has asserted in court filings that she entered Epstein’s employ in 1999, where she remained, despite the eventual end of their romantic relationship, until at least 2006.
Following Epstein’s death in custody in August 2019, media and law enforcement attention turned to Maxwell, who had been previously accused in civil lawsuits of facilitating Epstein’s abuse of young women and girls, allegations that she has long denied. She was arrested on July 2 in a surprise early morning raid at a secluded 156-acre property in Bradford, New Hampshire, that had been purchased by a shell company in an all-cash transaction, according to court records and public documents.
To answer allegations from prosecutors that she tried to hide from law enforcement during the year-long investigation prior to her arrest, Maxwell will contend that she was never hiding from the government but had sought seclusion because of media attention and threats to the safety of her and her family after Epstein’s death, the person said.
Maxwell’s bail proposal is also expected to renew her concerns that the conditions of her confinement at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn are putting her health at risk and making it difficult for her to review documents in preparation for trial. She recently spent two weeks in quarantine protocol after a staff member assigned to her unit tested positive for COVID-19, according to court records. Her lawyers have argued that Maxwell — a pretrial detainee — is being subjected to “disparate treatment” because the federal Bureau of Prisons failed to keep Epstein alive in jail.
“[T]the Department of Justice is seeking to repair the BOP’s tarnished reputation by placing Ms. Maxwell under extraordinarily harsh conditions, not in any response to Ms. Maxwell’s requirements, but rather in response to the failed handling of a completely different inmate,” wrote Bobbi Sternheim, an attorney for Maxwell, in a letter to the court earlier this week.
Maxwell pleaded not guilty to a six-count federal indictment alleging that she conspired with Epstein in a multi-state sex trafficking scheme involving three unnamed minor victims between 1994 and 1997. Prosecutors contend Maxwell not only “befriended” and later “enticed and groomed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Epstein, through a variety of means and methods,” but was also, at times, was “present for and involved” in the abuse herself.
Maxwell’s attorneys have already questioned the prosecution’s contention that the “strength of the Government’s evidence” provided a strong incentive for Maxwell to flee, alleging in an earlier court filing that the government had yet to produce the corroborating documentation they claimed to have.
“[T]he dearth of evidence reinforces why Ms. Maxwell has never intended to flee. She steadfastly maintains her innocence and vehemently denies the charges against her,” wrote Maxwell’s attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca in October.
Maxwell has asked Nathan to set a hearing on her renewed bail proposal for Dec. 21. If granted release, Maxwell could be out of custody in time for Christmas, which is also her 59th birthday. Nathan has ordered the government to respond to Maxwell’s proposal by next week and then will decide if a hearing is necessary.
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