Prosecutors: Ghislaine Maxwell should not be released on bail, still poses a flight risk

Prosecutors are opposing British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s latest attempt to leave jail as she awaits trial on charges that she helped recruit young girls to be sexually abused by the late financier and accused child predator Jeffrey Epstein, saying in court records Tuesday that she remains a flight risk.

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In a Feb. 23 court filing, Maxwell’s attorneys asked U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan to reconsider her December decision to deny their client bail and proposed two additional measures to ensure her appearance in court.

First, they said Maxwell will renounce her French and British citizenships “to eliminate any opportunity for her to seek refuge in those countries.” Attorneys said Maxwell would also have her and her husband’s assets moved into a new account which authorities would be able to monitor.

“As a non-citizen, Ms. Maxwell will not be able to avail herself of any protections against extradition that may apply to citizens of those countries,” Maxwell’s attorneys said in their court filing Tuesday. “The latter condition will restrain Ms. Maxwell’s assets so they cannot be used for flight or harboring her outside of the jurisdiction of this Court.”

>> Related: Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to charges in Jeffrey Epstein-connected case, judge denies bail

Prosecutors rejected those arguments, saying that the court lacked jurisdiction over the issue and that the newly proposed restrictions would not keep Maxwell from being a flight risk.

The jurisdiction challenge stems from an appeal filed by Maxwell’s attorneys earlier this year in response to the court’s previous decision not to grant her bail. Prosecutors noted that Maxwell could withdraw her appeal to bring jurisdiction back to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Additionally, prosecutors said Ghislaine would still pose “a significant risk of flight” even if she renounced her French and British citizenships and had her assets under surveillance.

>> Related: Ghislaine Maxwell denies helping Jeffrey Epstein, asks for $5M bail

“Nothing in the defendant’s Motion should alter the Court’s determination that the defendant poses a significant risk of flight, and that she has the resources and skills to flee prosecution,” prosecutors said.

Maxwell, 59, has been held without bail since July 2, when FBI agents in New Hampshire arrested her to face allegations that she helped recruit and groom girls as young as 14 to be sexually abused by Epstein in the 1990s. If she’s convicted of the charges against her, she could face decades in prison.

>> Related: Jeffrey Epstein death ruled a suicide

Prosecutors said that from at least 1994 to 1997, Maxwell encouraged some of Epstein’s victims to take him up on offers to pay for travel or educational opportunities, making the victims feel indebted to them and reinforcing the illusion that the pair was trying to help the victims.

Authorities said Maxwell “facilitated Jeffrey Epstein’s access to minor victims knowing that he had a sexual preference for underage girls and that he intended to engage in sexual activity with those victims.” In court records, prosecutors said girls were sexually abused at Epstein’s New York mansion, his home in Palm Beach, Florida, his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Maxwell’s home in London.

Maxwell’s attorneys have said she “vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.”

Epstein committed suicide last year while he was in custody in New York on suspicion of sexually abusing and exploiting dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005.