GHISLAINE Maxwell could be freed on bail if coronavirus puts her at risk in prison, says former federal prosecutor.
Because Maxwell didn’t flee the country after ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, and because of the virus outbreak in the federal prison system, she may not have to stay in jail while waiting for her trial.
Maxwell, 58, may be freed on bail because of coronavirus[/caption]
Inside the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn where Maxwell could spend months awaiting her trial[/caption]
The British socialite, 58, has been charged with six counts of sex trafficking and perjury in relation to her relationship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Her legal team has requested she be freed on £4million bail, saying she is not a flight risk and might be at risk of catching the coronavirus in jail.
However, prosecutors argue that Maxwell is someone of “considerable wealth” whose finances are “opaque” and who holds more than one passport.
Jaimie Nawaday, former federal prosecutor, told the New York Post: “I think this one is a close case. Epstein had no chance at all at bail.
“She’s in a very different position.
“All bail arguments look a little bit different now given COVID. That’s definitely in her favor.
“More and more there is a push toward home confinement, especially holding people pretrial, when you still have the presumption of innocence.”
FREE ON BAIL
In a detention memo filed after Maxwell’s arrest, prosecutors argued for remand, saying she’s an “extreme” flight risk given her vast sums of money, three passports and ties to European countries such as England and France.
Under normal circumstances, that might have been enough to keep her in jail — but the coronavirus outbreak has upended typical bail agreements, Nawaday added.
Nawaday, who used to work in the Southern District of New York office that is prosecuting Maxwell, added that she would guess that Manhattan federal Judge Alison Nathan would release Maxwell to home confinement.
It was reported that Maxwell is currently being moved from cell to cell, because authorities are terrified someone will try and kill her.
Another former prosecutor who worked in the SDNY, Jennifer Rodgers, said Maxwell would likely be remanded into custody.
“Maxwell has wealth, multiple passports, strong connections outside of the US, and a strong incentive to flee given the serious penalties she faces. The argument that she is a flight risk is strong,” Rodgers said.
She added that even though the coronavirus adds an unknown factor, Maxwell may not have a very strong case to be released because of the pandemic.
“Unless there are underlying health issues that haven’t been reported, Maxwell is healthy and not old enough at 58 to fall in a high-risk group, so I don’t think the COVID crisis will work in her favor,” Rodgers said.
Maxwell faces 35 years in prison for allegedly procuring underage girls in the US and in England for Epstein to sexually abuse.
Prosecutors also say she lied about her alleged crimes under oath during a deposition.
Maxwell’s attorneys argued in a memo filed last week that she should be released on $5 million bond if she agrees to turn over her travel documents and remain in the New York area until her trial or plea agreement.
They argued that although Maxwell vanished after Epstein’s suicide last year, she hid in the United States and did not flee to Europe.
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Nawaday agreed this will weigh in her favor at Tuesday’s bail hearing.
“She obviously could have left the country, she didn’t. She was keeping a low profile here. I don’t think that shows a risk of flight,” she said.