Judge Alison Nathan said the British socialite, accused of sexually abusing and exploiting young girls alongside Jeffrey Epstein, posed too great a flight risk to be allowed to leave.
Maxwell, dressed in a brown top with her hair pulled into a bun, appeared before Nathan via video from the Brooklyn, N.Y., federal detention center.
Nathan said “no combination of conditions” could ensure that Maxwell wouldn’t try to flee, noted her “foreign connections” and added that she exhibited an “extraordinary capacity to evade detection.”
Prosecutors argued against release and said that if given the opportunity, Maxwell would use her collection of international passports, access to private transportation and money to run.
“There will be no trial for the victims if the defendant is afforded the opportunity to flee the jurisdiction, and there is every reason to think that is exactly what she will do if she is released,” prosecutors wrote in a filing ahead of Tuesday’s hearing.
Maxwell is charged with conspiracy and perjury in a multi-state sex trafficking ring involving three unnamed minors between 1994 and 1997.
She has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.
Her attorneys have tried to distance Maxwell’s case from Epstein’s, and argued the risks associated with COVID-19 in detention centers along with a $5 million bond should have been enough to secure her release.
During the two-hour hearing, Maxwell’s attorneys also proposed she serve her pretrial detention in a luxury Manhattan hotel.
Nathan said COVID-19 alone did not provide enough reason for bail and that neither Maxwell’s age nor her medical condition made her “particularily susceptible” to the pandemic.
Maxwell mostly remained in silence as she heard Nathan’s ruling. She had spoken briefly at the beginning of the hearing to respond to the judge’s procedural questions and to enter a plea.
Her trial date is set for July 2021, and the prosecution expects it will take two to three weeks to present its case.
Prosecutors also claimed Maxwell went to great lengths to avoid capture, including wrapping her cell phone in tinfoil – something prosecutors called “a seemingly misguided effort to evade detection” – as well as changing her email address and registering a new phone under the name “G Max.”
Prosecutors said that former British military members hired by Maxwell’s brother guarded her at her New Hampshire estate, which was purchased in cash via a limited liability corporation.
Maxwell purportedly posed as a journalist named Jen Marshall when buying the New Hampshire property, prosecutors said Tuesday.
“The real estate agent told the FBI agent the buyers for the house introduced themselves as Scott and Jen Marshall. Both had British accents,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe said about the $1.07 million December transaction. “Scott Marshall told her he was retired from the British military and was currently working on a book.”
Moe added that the fictitious Scott and Jen Marshall “told the agent they wanted to purchase the property quickly through a wire and they were setting up and LLC.”
The real estate agent realized Jen Marshall was actually Maxwell after seeing a picture of her.
Court filings also described what happened the day FBI agents broke through the gate of Maxwell’s Bradford compound.
Prosecutors claim Maxwell fled to another room in the house when agents identified themselves and told her to open the door.
Maxwell’s arrest and details surrounding her case have provided a unique glimpse into a woman once considered Epstein’s closest confidant, who has hobnobbed with princes and presidents around the world.
It’s been a hard fall for the privileged and pampered 58-year-old since her arrest. Once clad in Burberry and Chanel, she has been forced to wear paper clothing in custody — a preventative measure in case she plans to take her own life. She’s also had her bedding removed and is being constantly monitored at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
Epstein, a convicted pedophile who was awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges, killed himself in his jail cell Aug. 10, 2019.
Jennifer Araoz, one of Epstein and Maxwell’s accusers, thanked prosecutors and Nathan following the hearing.
“I am once again able to take another breath as Ghislaine Maxwell will be in jail until at least her trial date next July,” she said. “Knowing that she is incarcerated for the foreseeable future allows me, and my fellow survivors, to have faith that we are on the right path.”
Author: Barnini Chakraborty, Marta Dhanis