In her second longshot bid for bail, Ghislaine Maxwell cited her secret husband as a reason that she would not flee if released ahead of her trial for allegedly grooming young women and girls for Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking empire.
Federal prosecutors shot that argument full of holes on Friday.
“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,'” Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey wrote in a 36-page brief demanding her continued pre-trial lockup.
Though the husband’s name remains redacted in legal briefings, theirs was a purported love that Maxwell asked to let burn from afar.
“On this point, it bears noting that the defendant’s motion asks that she be permitted to live with [redacted] if granted bail, not her spouse,” the prosecution’s brief continues, shielding the name of the other person. “Moreover, the fact that the defendant’s spouse has only now come forward to support the defendant should be afforded little weight given that he refused to come forward at the time of her arrest. 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.”
While Maxwell and her secret husband may have been married in the eyes of the law, prosecutors say they opted to remain a bachelor and bachelorette in the eyes of their bank.
“Adding to this confusion, bank records reflect that when the defendant and her spouse established a trust account in or about 2018, they filled out forms in which they were required to provide personal information, including marital status,” they wrote in a footnotes. “On those forms, both the defendant and her spouse listed their marital status as ‘single.’ It is unclear why the defendant did not disclose her marital status to the bank, but that lack of candor on a bank form mirrors her lack of candor with pretrial services in this case, discussed further below.”
Maxwell’s renewed bail application made a point to trumpet her financial ties to her husband.
“Ms. Maxwell and her spouse’s net worth as of October 31, 2020 was approximately $22,500,000,” her attorney Mark Cohen wrote, proposing a bond of that amount in exchange for her release.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan rejected Maxwell’s request for pre-trial relief in July, proclaiming of the possibility she would flee: “The risks are simply too great.”
Facing six charges of grooming and abusing Epstein’s young victims and lying about it under oath, Maxwell likely would be out of reach of U.S. authorities if she escaped to another country where she has citizenship.
“Such an outcome is virtually a certainty as to France, a country of which the defendant is a citizen and which does not extradite its citizens to the United States,” prosecutors wrote.
For prosecutors, Maxwell’s belated financial statement shows why she should not be trusted about the resources at her disposal.
“Now, the defense has submitted a financial report that reflects the defendant has approximately $22 million in assets—far more than the figure she initially reported to Pretrial Services,” the brief notes.
“Accepting the financial report at face value, it is clear that the defense’s proposed bail package would leave the defendant with substantial resources to flee the country,” it continued. “Not only would she have millions of dollars in unrestrained assets at her disposal, but she would also have a $2 million townhouse in London, which she could live in or sell to support herself. In other words, even with the proposed bond—which is only partially secured—the defendant would still have millions of dollars at her disposal.”
Read the memo here:
[Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images.]
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