Ghislaine Maxwell denies helping Jeffrey Epstein, asks for $5M bail

Ghislaine Maxwell denies helping Jeffrey Epstein, asks for $5M bail
Ghislaine Maxwell attends an event called VIP Evening of Conversation for Women's Brain Health Initiative, Moderated by Tina Brown at Spring Studios on October 18, 2016, in New York City. (Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images, File)

NEW YORK — Attorneys for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime confidant of disgraced financier and accused child predator Jeffrey Epstein, argued Friday that their client “is not Jeffrey Epstein” and deserves bail while awaiting trial on charges that she aided him in recruiting young girls for him to sexually abuse in the 1990s.

In a memo filed Friday in court, attorneys for Maxwell, 58, proposed she be released on a $5 million bond under some conditions, including that she be placed under GPS monitoring.

Authorities in New Hampshire arrested Maxwell on July 2 to face allegations that she procured and helped to groom girls as young as 14 for Epstein to sexually abuse. The financier died last year while he was in custody in New York on suspicion of sexually abusing and exploiting dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005.

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Maxwell’s attorneys said that after Epstein committed suicide in jail in August 2019, “the media focus quickly shifted to our client -- wrongly trying to substitute her for Epstein -- even though she’d had no contact with Epstein for more than a decade, had never been charged with a crime or been found liable in any civil litigation, and has always denied any allegations of claimed misconduct.”

Prosecutors argued in a memo filed last week in court that Maxwell "poses an extreme risk of flight," pointing to her extensive international ties and the fact that she has citizenship in two foreign countries, among other factors.

“In short, Maxwell has three passports, large sums of money, extensive international connections, and absolutely no reason to stay in the United States and face the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence,” prosecutors wrote. “The incentive to flee is especially strong for this defendant who, at age 58, faces the very real prospect of spending a substantial portion of the rest of her life in prison.”

If she's convicted of the charges against her, Maxwell could face decades in prison.

Her attorneys said Thursday that Maxwell is a naturalized U.S. citizen who has lived in the country since 1991 "and has not left the country even once since Epstein's arrest a year ago." They added that she has close relationships with two of her sisters and their children, who also live in the United States.

She also has citizenship in France, where she was born, and the United Kingdom, where she grew up and attended university.

Maxwell is expected to appear by teleconference Tuesday afternoon in a federal courthouse in New York for an arraignment and bail hearing.