Why Ghislaine Maxwell may be granted bail at upcoming arraignment
Ghislaine Maxwell will learn whether she’ll have to stay in jail pending her trial on sex-trafficking charges when she’s arraigned Tuesday — with former prosecutors saying her release is not completely out of the cards.
The coronavirus outbreak in the federal prison system — and the fact Maxwell didn’t flee the country after Epstein’s suicide — may save her from languishing in a federal jail cell, former federal prosecutor Jaimie Nawaday told The Post.
“I think this one is a close case. Epstein had no chance at all at bail. She’s in a very different position,” Nawaday said.
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.
In normal circumstances, that may have been enough to keep her in jail — but the coronavirus outbreak has upended typical bail agreements, Nawaday added.
“All bail arguments look a little bit different now given COVID. That’s definitely in her favor,” Nawaday said. “More and more there is a push toward home confinement, especially holding people pretrial, when you still have the presumption of innocence.”
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 court Judge Alison Nathan would release Maxwell on home confinement.
Another former prosecutor who worked in the SDNY, Jennifer Rodgers, disagreed, saying 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 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 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.
Nawaday agreed this will play into 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.
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