‘A predator and a monster’: Alleged victims speak as Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail in Epstein abuse case

Judge schedules trial for July 2021

Richard Hall
New York
Tuesday 14 July 2020 19:25 BST
Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to recruiting girls for Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell has been denied bail and will remain in prison ahead of her trial, which is scheduled to take place one year from now.

Appearing by video link at a Manhattan court on Tuesday, the 58-year-old British socialite pleaded not guilty to charges of facilitating the abuse of minors by her boyfriend and former associate Jeffrey Epstein.

The two and a half hours-long hearing was the first time since her arrest that Ms Maxwell has heard from alleged victims in the abuse case.

“Not guilty, your honour,” said Ms Maxwell, who wore a brown T-shirt and tortoiseshell glasses as she spoke from the Brooklyn jail where she is being held.

After hearing arguments from both sides, US District Judge Alison Nathan sided with government prosecutors to deny her bail, and set a trial date for 12 July next year.

Judge Nathan said that Ms Maxwell has access to “extraordinary financial resources which could provide her the means to flee the country,” despite travel restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus.

“No combination of conditions could reasonably ensure her presence at court. The risks are simply too great,” she added.

She said that Ms Maxwell has displayed “sophistication in hiding her resources”, and noted that her international connections increased the likelihood that she would flee.

That conclusion largely matched the arguments that prosecutors had set out. Government prosecutor Alison Moe painted a picture of Ms Maxwell as a well-connected, wealthy individual with international ties that could allow her to evade extradition. She alleged that Ms Maxwell has not been transparent about her finances, and as such posed “an extreme flight risk”.

“There are serious red flags here,” Ms Roe said, claiming that Ms Maxwell ”has not come close to thoroughly disclosing her finances to the court, she has strong international ties, few – if any – community ties, much less a stable residence, and a strong incentive to flee.”

Ms Roe further argued that Ms Maxwell has proven to be “willing to lie to hide herself and disguise her identity”, revealing that Ms Maxwell had purchased the new Hampshire property where she was arrested earlier this month using the alias “Janet Marshall”.

The court also heard from two alleged victims of Ms Maxwell, who spoke in support of the prosecution’s request to deny her bail.

One of them, Annie Farmer, said she was 16-years-old when she met Ms Maxwell.

“She is a sexual predator who groomed and abused me and countless other young women. She has lied under oath and tormented her survivors,” she said.

She added that Ms Maxwell “has never shown any remorse for her heinous crimes”.

A statement from another victim, who gave the alias Jane Doe, called her a “predator and a monster”.

“Without Ghislaine, Jeffrey could not have done what he did. She was in charge,” she said in a statement read by the prosecution.

Mark Cohen, the attorney representing Ms Maxwell, said his client has been the “target of endless media spin” as he called for her release on $5m (£3.9m) bail.

“Our client is not Jeffrey Epstein. She is not the monster made out by the media.”

Ms Maxwell was arrested on 2 July in Bradford, New Hampshire, where authorities said she was hiding out at a 156-acre property she bought in December. She has been held since 6 July at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn.

Epstein was charged in July 2019 with sexually exploiting dozens of girls and women from 2002 to 2005 at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida. He took his own life on 10 August at the age of 66 in a Manhattan jail.

Prosecutors accused Ms Maxwell of luring girls as young as 14 by asking them about their lives, schools and families and taking them shopping or to movies – acts, they said, that served as “the prequel” to Epstein’s abuse. Epstein has been linked socially to several powerful figures including President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew.

Prosecutors said on Monday that when FBI agents went to arrest Ms Maxwell, they had to forcibly enter her home, where she hid in an interior room, and found a cellphone wrapped in tin foil in an apparent effort to evade detection.

Ms Maxwell also used former British military personnel to guard her in New Hampshire, prosecutors said.

With agencies

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