Unthinkable: Could Ghislaine Maxwell get bail?

No one doubts that her attorneys will ask for bail, but is there any chance Ghislaine Maxwell will get it? Maybe, the New York Post reports, and not just for the COVID-19 reason Maxwell’s attorney will use in court tomorrow. That may make for an understandable public reason, but the death of Jeffrey Epstein might be subtext:


The Associated Press lays out the case for bail presented by Maxwell’s attorneys:

After Epstein was found dead in his jail cell, “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,” the lawyers wrote in a preview of their defense.

“Ghislaine Maxwell,” they added, “is not Jeffrey Epstein.” …

In the court papers, lawyers cited reports of coronavirus infections spreading through federal jails as one of the reasons to free Maxwell, arguing that if “she continues to be detained, her health will be at serious risk and she will not be able to receive a fair trial.”

The case for bail is also strengthened by the fact that the government’s case “is based primarily on the testimony of three individuals about events that allegedly occurred roughly 25 years ago,” the defense papers say. “It is inherently more difficult to prosecute cases relating to decades-old conduct.”

The issue of the pandemic and the push to release even convicted felons from prisons might be the most effective argument, one former federal prosecutor told the NY Post:

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.”


COVID-19 might make for a good face-saving explanation. However, the death of Jeffrey Epstein while in custody will loom large over this request, too. Recall that Epstein promised to fund his own home detention and put up a $77 million bond at his arraignment, an offer which drew hoots of derision over Epstein’s attempts to leverage his wealth for even more privilege. That too seemed to be a closer decision than people liked, with the judge taking extra time to mull it over before declining to set any bail and remanding Epstein to the Bureau of Prisons.

And how did that work out? Epstein could have committed suicide at home too, (assuming that’s what happened), but the BoP failed spectacularly in its mission to get Epstein to trial. That denied Epstein’s victims the full measure of justice they had waited decades to get. Do you think Judge Alison Nathan might be worried about the BoP’s incompetence (or worse) when it comes time to consider the same question about Maxwell? I’d bet on it.

Furthermore, the Post reports separately, it looks like the BoP is in the middle of a full freak-out over its newest star inmate:

Ghislaine Maxwell is being moved from “cell to cell” in her Brooklyn lockup — over fears someone will try to kill the accused Jeffrey Epstein madam before she stands trial, according to a report.

The Post already revealed how the 58-year-old British socialite was forced to wear paper clothes and sleep on a bare mattress so she couldn’t hang herself with clothes or bed sheets like Epstein.

Now insiders have told the Mail on Sunday that prison officials are so “terrified someone will try to kill her” that they are constantly moving her around inside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

“She is being moved from cell to cell and sometimes has a cellmate, sometimes not,” an insider told the UK paper.

“Jeffrey Epstein died behind bars and they are terrified someone will try to kill Ghislaine,” the source said.


How sad is this? The Bureau of Prisons can’t secure their own facilities well enough to keep their inmates from getting killed — even those in protective isolation. If they have to go through this much trouble to keep other prisoners from murdering Maxwell, Judge Nathan might well decide to let Maxwell stew at home in isolation instead, with enough of her liquidity tied up in court so that she can’t escape. The Epstein deal offer might start looking pretty good to a judge under these conditions.

Of course, that would require lots of surveillance and security, but Maxwell could fund those costs as Epstein offered as a condition of home confinement. She didn’t run before, despite her resources and contacts, which is curious on its own. Perhaps she didn’t actually have the means to do so, or maybe Maxwell never thought she’d get arrested — although she would have had to have stopped watching all media to believe that. Does she still have aces up her sleeve that have nothing to do with fleeing the jurisdiction?

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