Maxwell Was Divorcing Husband, Shouldn’t Get Bail, U.S. Says

Ghislaine Maxwell shouldn’t be released from jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, prosecutors said, noting she said she was in the process of divorcing the U.S. citizen husband she now claims would keep her from fleeing the country.

Maxwell has renewed her application for bail, pledging $28.5 million, including $22.5 million from her unidentified husband, according to court filings. The judge had denied a $5 million bail proposal in July, calling her a flight risk.

“Although the defendant now claims her marriage would keep her in the United States, her motion does not address the plainly inconsistent statements she made to pretrial services at the time of her arrest, when, as documented in the pretrial services report, the defendant said she was ‘in the process of divorcing her husband,’” the government wrote in a partly redacted filing released Friday. Prosecutors also highlighted the fact that she is asking to live with someone other than her husband if bail is granted.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges she trafficked girls with her former boyfriend, money manager Jeffrey Epstein, whose death in a Manhattan lockup while he was awaiting trial was ruled a suicide. An Oxford-educated British socialite, Maxwell is a citizen of three countries, including France, which doesn’t extradite its citizens to the U.S. In her renewed bail application, Maxwell proposed to live in New York, under guard, with someone she hasn’t identified.

Maxwell’s lawyers included a letter from her spouse, who co-signed a personal bond in the application. His identity was redacted. She and her spouse have lived a quiet family life for more than four years immediately prior to her arrest, according to the letter.

Maxwell’s marriage was first revealed by prosecutors in July after she made her first bail application. The 58-year-old heiress has been jailed since she was arrested on July 2 at her estate in Bradford, New Hampshire. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in New York ruled on the first application that Maxwell’s “extraordinary” financial resources and “international ties” presented a risk she would flee.

Prosecutors said she’s now rehashing the same arguments the judge had earlier rejected. They also noted her spouse didn’t come forward when Maxwell was arrested.

“While a friend’s desire to avoid publicity may be understandable, a spouse’s desire to distance himself in that manner -- particularly when coupled with the defendant’s inconsistent statements about the state of their relationship -- undermine her assertion that her marriage is a tie that would keep her in the United States,” prosecutors said.

They also rejected her claims that other family ties would keep her in the U.S.

“As for the defendant’s asserted relationships with and other relatives in the United States, the defendant did not appear to have an issue living alone without these relatives while she was in hiding in New Hampshire, which undercuts any suggestion that these ties would keep her in the United States,” prosecutors said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.