Ghislaine Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the sex trafficking charges brought against her as she appeared in court via video today to learn whether a judge will grant her bail.
Maxwell is accused of grooming girls as young as 14 years old for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 1997, a period when she was his girlfriend.
The British socialite was dressed in a brown shirt on Tuesday afternoon, with her normally short hair in a bun, as she waived her right to be physically present.
Her legal team had offered a $5 million bond co-signed by two of her sisters and backed up more than $3.75 million in property in the UK.
The 58-year-old would be confined to a home in the New York area, surrender all her travel documents and be subject to GPS monitoring.
She faces up to 35 years in prison if found guilty of the charges, as prosecutors argue that along with her three passports, connections to some of the world’s most powerful people and her own fortune – Maxwell has every incentive to try and flee.
New York prosecutors said Maxwell was ‘skilled at living in hiding’ and should be denied bail.
She is currently being held in the fortress-like Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where she is wearing paper clothes to ensure she doesn’t kill herself.
Ghislaine Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against her as she appeared in court via video today to learn whether a judge will grant her bail
Her appearance on Tuesday came as it was revealed on Monday she had refused to open the front door to the FBI when they raided her $1 million home and fled to another room in the house, according to prosecutors. The 58-year-old ran to another room and was seen ‘quickly shutting a door behind her’
Maxwell is being closely watched as the Department of Justice wants to ensure she does not kill herself like her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, who hanged himself last August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Her Tuesday appearance came as it was revealed on Monday she had refused to open the front door to the FBI when they raided her $1 million home and fled to another room in the house, ‘quickly shutting a door behind her’, according to prosecutors.
The FBI smashed down the door and discovered a mobile phone wrapped in tin foil which prosecutors called a ‘seemingly misguided effort to evade detection’ by law enforcement.
Officials said her conduct during the 8.30am raid on July 2nd at the property called ‘Tuckedaway’ in the rural town of Bradford, New Hampshire was ‘troubling’.
They wrote that when the FBI arrived they were confronted by a locked gate which they forced their way through.
The filing said: ‘As the agents approached the front door to the main house, they announced themselves as FBI agents and directed the defendant to open the door.
‘Through a window, the agents saw the defendant ignore the direction to open the door and, instead, try to flee to another room in the house, quickly shutting a door behind her. Agents were ultimately forced to breach the door in order to enter the house to arrest the defendant, who was found in an interior room in the house.
‘Moreover, as the agents conducted a security sweep of the house, they also noticed a cell phone wrapped in tin foil on top of a desk, a seemingly misguided effort to evade detection, not by the press or public, which of course would have no ability to trace her phone or intercept her communications, but by law enforcement’.
Maxwell is currently in custody in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn (pictured) where she is wearing paper clothes to ensure she doesn’t kill herselfon
Pictured: Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss speaks during a news conference to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell
Also on the case is (l-r) Alex Rossmiller, Alison Moe and Maurene Comey, James Comey’s daughter
New York prosecutors said in a filing Monday this was evidence that Maxwell was ‘skilled at living in hiding’ and should be denied bail
After Maxwell, the daughter of late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, was arrested the FBI spoke to a security guard who worked on the property who said that her brother had hired him from a company staffed with former British military soldiers.
The filing states: ‘The guard informed the FBI that the defendant had not left the property during his time working there, and that instead, the guard was sent to make purchases for the property using the credit card. As these facts make plain, there should be no question that the defendant is skilled at living in hiding’.
In their filings to the court Maxwell’s lawyers had argued that she is at increased risk of catching the coronavirus whilst in prison. So far there have only been five cases and no deaths at the prison.
They claim that the restrictions on access to her lawyers caused by the pandemic would mean it was impossible for her to get a fair trial.
The prosecutors said that in fact the prison had made substantial efforts to accommodate her and keep her safe.
In a 19-page document prosecutors from the Southern District of New York dismissed her offer of a $5 million bail package backed up by $3.75 million in UK properties as ‘little more than an unsecured bond’.
It was not enough that she be subjected to 24 hour monitoring and remain under house arrest because she has ‘not only the motive to flee, but the means to do so swiftly and effectively’.
The case against her is ‘strong’ and multiple victims have provided ‘detailed, credible evidence of the defendant’s criminal conduct’ – with more women coming forward in the past week.
The victims have made clear they want Maxwell remanded in custody and say they were ‘directly abused as a result of Ghislaine Maxwell’s actions’.
The document states: ‘While that conduct did take place a number of years ago, it is unsurprising that the victims have been unable to forget the defendant’s predatory conduct after all this time, as traumatic childhood experiences often leave indelible marks.
‘The recollections of the victims bear striking resemblances that corroborate each other and provide compelling proof of the defendant’s active participation in a disturbing scheme to groom and sexually abuse minor girls’.
Maxwell was romantically involved with Jeffrey Epstein from around 1992, but then became his ‘right-hand woman’, managing his property empire and, it is alleged, his trafficking of minors
Her bail request (pictured) was filed in the US District Court in Manhattan and claims she was not ‘hiding’ from authorities, is not a flight risk and is at risk of contracting COVID-19 if she continues to be held in the Brooklyn jail
The FBI smashed down the door and discovered a mobile phone wrapped in tin foil which prosecutors called a ‘seemingly misguided effort to evade detection’
The prosecutors said that it was ‘curious’ that Maxwell claimed to have access to millions of dollars had not offered ‘a single dime’ as collateral for her bond.
They claimed that Maxwell’s finances were ‘completely opaque’ and she had not even indicated which properties she would use for her bond.
Some of the co-signers are ‘themselves so wealthy that it would be no financial burden whatsoever’ if they lost their $5 million by Maxwell skipping bail, the document states.
Maxwell was arrested on July 2 at her $1 million home called ‘Tuckedaway’ in the rural town of Bradford, New Hampshire.
According to reports she had moved 36 times in the year since Epstein killed himself in jail out of fear for her safety.
The FBI have said they were quietly keeping tabs on her and smashed in her door during an 8.30am raid.
In her filing last Friday, Maxwell’s lawyers Mark Cohen and Jeff Pagliuca wrote that Maxwell ‘vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence’.
They claimed that after Epstein’s death last August ‘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.’
They wrote that it was ‘open season’ on Maxwell and she had received death threats which led her to hire security guards.
Maxwell’s lawyers also revealed that her family is standing by her and that she remains close to her nephews and nieces.
Epstein’s victims have long demanded Maxwell’s arrest and lawyers for them say that a slew of new accusers have come forward since she was apprehended.
Prosecutors will likely be looking to do a plea deal with Maxwell to lighten some of the six charges against her, two of which are perjury for allegedly lying during depositions.
They will be questioning her about powerful men in Epstein’s orbit including Bill Clinton with whom she flew on Epstein’s private jet, called the ‘Lolita Express’, on a tour of Africa in 2002.
Maxwell was also good friends with Prince Andrew and one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts, claims she was loaned out to the Duke three times for sex when she was 17.