No bail for Ghislaine Maxwell as trial nears -U.S. judge

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Tuesday rejected Ghislaine Maxwell’s request for bail ahead of her Nov. 29 criminal trial on charges she helped enable Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse underage girls.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan has denied bail to Maxwell four times since the British socialite was arrested in July 2020.

Nathan cited her prior reasoning for the fourth denial, including that Maxwell was a “significant risk of flight” and that not even her proposed $28.5 million bail package would ensure her appearance in court.

A federal appeals court has twice rejected bail for Maxwell.

The 59-year-old has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and other charges related to Epstein’s alleged abuse between 1994 and 2004 of four girls under 18. If convicted, she faces up to 80 years in prison.

Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim had likened her client’s “reprehensible” living conditions at a Brooklyn jail to those of Hannibal Lecter, the fictional serial killer made famous by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film “The Silence of the Lambs.”

She also called it unfair to lock Maxwell up after former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and comedian Bill Cosby had remained free on bail during their respective criminal trials.

Prosecutors countered that Maxwell’s bail request largely repeated arguments Nathan had previously rejected, and resorted to “rhetoric and anecdotes better suited to tabloids than briefs.”

Epstein died in a Manhattan jail at age 66 in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. A medical examiner called the financier’s death a suicide.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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