Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and assistant to deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, filed a motion in a Manhattan federal court on Thursday evening requesting that she be released on $5 million bail.
In the motion, Attorney Mark S. Cohen argues that Maxwell is not a flight risk and that both her health and ability to fairly defend herself is at risk because of the spread of COVID-19 in federal prisons and the restrictions placed on client-lawyer contact during the pandemic.
Maxwell, who was arrested on July 2 and charged with six criminal offenses including enticing teenage girls as young as 14 to have sex with Epstein as well as perjury, is scheduled for her first appearance in court on Tuesday, July 13.
In the arraignment, which will be conducted via remote video, a decision will likely be made about whether Maxwell will remain in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn or be released pending a trial.
In the filing, Cohen states that Maxwell distanced herself from Epstein and had no contact with him during the decade before he was found dead in his jail cell in New York City on August 10, 2019, where he was awaiting trial on multiple counts of sex trafficking.
Maxwell’s motion, which calls on Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District Court of New York to release her on bail, argues that she was never in hiding or trying to avoid law enforcement following Epstein’s death almost a year ago.
Cohen says she instead took measures to conceal her identity—purchasing a secluded $1 million home in New Hampshire and registering her phone number and email address under the name “G Max”—to protect herself from “unrelenting and intrusive media coverage.”
The motion says that Maxwell had seen reporters hiding in her bushes and was forced to hire personal security guards after she received death threats as evidence that she faced an “onslaught of press articles, television specials and social media posts painting her in the most damning light possible and prejudging her guilt.”
Arguing that Maxwell is no flight risk, Cohen argues, “Far from hiding” from law enforcement her lawyers reached out to prosecutors after Epstein was arrested on July 6, 2019 and “maintained regular contact with them right up to the point of her arrest.”
Along with the bail request, Maxwell is also proposing that she be released into home confinement in New York with electronic GPS monitoring and limited contact with close friends, family and legal team. The bail request also includes the proposal that the bond be secured by six co-signers, including two of Maxwell’s sisters, and with collateral in the United Kingdom worth more than $3.75 million.
In their first response since the July 2 indictment, her lawyers state that Maxwell, “has always vehemently denied that she was involved in illegal or improper conduct related to Epstein.” The brief says, “Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein,” and that she has been unfairly blamed for his sex crimes.
Prosecutors have argued that Maxwell should remain in custody because she has citizenship in the US, Britain and France and possesses a passport from each country. They also say that while Maxwell may not have had direct contact with Epstein since 2008, there is evidence that she moved funds around in bank accounts associated with him as recently as 2013.
In the case against Maxwell, prosecutors presented extensive evidence—including detailed descriptions from three anonymous teenage victims of Epstein’s abuse—that she recruited and groomed the girls for sex with him, participated in the abuse herself and also facilitated their trafficking across state lines to other men among their elite friends and associates.
One such individual is Prince Andrew, Duke of York, who was identified by Virginia Roberts Giuffre as “an abuser” and “a participant” in a sex scheme coordinated by Maxwell. Roberts Giuffre testified that when she was 17 and staying at Maxwell’s London residence, she was directed to have sex with Prince Andrew. She also said that the abuse with Prince Andrew took place on at least two other occasions.
Throughout the eleven months since Epstein’s August 2019 death, Prince Andrew has refused to cooperate with prosecutors investigating the elaborate sex trafficking and abuse operation. Last March, Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan, announced at a press conference that the Duke of York had “completely shut the door” on helping with the inquiry. Earlier Berman had said that the prince was offering “zero cooperation” in the case.
According to a report in the Sun on June 24, one of the attorneys for Epstein’s victims, Spencer Kuvin noted that Berman’s removal shortly thereafter was “highly suspect” and speculated that Attorney General William Barr or President Donald Trump had forced him out for his persistent attempts to investigate Prince Andrew.
As Kuvin told the Sun, “Because we know that the investigation and requests for repeated interviews with Prince Andrew ramped up in just the past month. And now, all of a sudden, the one man that’s been pushing for those requests has been fired for no reason.
“We know that US Attorney Berman was heavily investigating and pushing the investigation into the Epstein cases which included repeated requests to interview Prince Andrew. We know that Prince Andrew lied when he said that he had been cooperative because US Attorney Berman came out and said that he was lying and that he had not contacted them and did not want to be part of that interview.
“We also know that President Trump has a very close relationship with the British Prime Minister and there have been requests that have been made in the past by our president to back off international prosecutions. So, it does not defy logic.”
There have been so many lies told by so many people in US and international elite circles about their relationship to Epstein and Maxwell, and what they knew or how they participated in the criminal sex ring, that the untruths are now piling up and clashing upon each other every day.
The fact that Epstein’s activities were permitted to take place unimpeded for twenty-five years—including a special non-prosecution agreement with federal authorities in 2008 in which he plead guilty to minimal Florida state charges in exchange for a 13-month prison term that permitted him to come and go as he pleased from his special “jail cell” in the Palm Beach County Stockade
six days a week—shows that he was being protected at the highest levels of the US government.
Whatever the outcome of Maxwell’s arraignment on Tuesday, more revelations about the activities and relationships of Epstein and his confidante should be anticipated both before and after.