Ghislaine Maxwell Offers to Give Up U.K., French Citizenships to Win Bail
(Bloomberg) -- Ghislaine Maxwell offered to give up her U.K. and French citizenships in a renewed attempt to be released on bond before her trial on sex-trafficking charges tied to her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.
A federal judge in Manhattan had already twice rejected Maxwell’s bail requests, most recently in December when the Oxford-educated socialite offered to put up $28.5 million, backed by her unidentified husband who she said would ensure she wouldn’t flee the country.
In opposing bail, prosecutors have argued that Maxwell could flee to France, where she was born and which doesn’t extradite its citizens to the U.S. But her lawyer Bobbi Sternheim on Tuesday said Maxwell was willing to renounce her citizenships in the two countries if it resulted in her release. Maxwell is also a U.S. citizen.
“Citizenship is a precious and priceless asset,” Sternheim wrote in a letter to the judge. “Ms. Maxwell’s decision to give up citizenship from the country of her birth and the country of her upbringing demonstrates her earnestness to abide by the conditions of her release and underscores that she has no intention to flee.”
The majority of Maxwell’s assets would be put in a bank account that her lawyer said will be monitored by William S. Duffy Jr., a retired federal judge and former U.S. Attorney in Georgia, who would have co-signing authority over the account. She would reserve some of her assets to pay her husband’s living expenses and a team of lawyers who’re defending her in the criminal case and in various civil suits, according to Sternheim.
The socialite has been jailed since her July 2 arrest in Bradford, New Hampshire. At a court appearance later that month, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in New York rejected her initial offer to post a $5 million bond and submit to house arrest, ruling that her “extraordinary” financial resources and “international ties” presented a risk she would flee.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges she trafficked girls with Epstein and participated in the abuse of some of them. Epstein, who was arrested in 2019 on sex-trafficking charges, was later found dead in his Manhattan lockup in what authorities ruled a suicide.
Maxwell should be released to help prepare her defense, her lawyers have said. They also argued that she’s vulnerable to infection of the coronavirus in jail and that she’s been mistreated.
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