Politics

Alleged Jeffrey Epstein madam Ghislaine Maxwell wants bail hearing just before Christmas

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Key Points
  • Ghislaine Maxwell wants a bail request hearing held four days before Christmas.
  • Maxwell is accused in federal court procuring of underage girls to be sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein, a money manager who had been friends with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.
  • Epstein died from suicide by hanging while being held in jail in 2019 on child sex trafficking charges.
Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, speaks at a news conference on oceans and sustainable development at the United Nations in New York, June 25, 2013 in this screengrab taken from United Nations TV file footage.
UNTV | Reuters

Ghislaine Maxwell wants to get out of jail — and before the holidays if possible.

Maxwell, who is accused of procuring young girls to be sexually abused by eccentric money manager Jeffrey Epstein, on Friday asked a judge to schedule a hearing on her forthcoming bail request for Dec. 21, just four days before Christmas.

The British socialite's lawyers in a letter to Manhattan federal court Judge Allison Nathan said that prosecutors have agreed to that date, and to a series of deadlines beforehand for related legal flings.

The letter came a day after Nathan rejected defense lawyers' request that she hold a conference with them and prosecutors outside of the public eye on issues related to the privacy of people who would co-sign a possible release bond for Maxwell if one is granted.

Maxwell, who has pleaded not guilty in the case, faces long odds in getting the judge to agree to set bail pending her scheduled trial next summer.

On the heels of Maxwell's arrest last July, Nathan denied her first request to be released on $5 million bond, saying that she represented a substantial flight risk because of her holding of French citizenship — France does not extradite citizens — and her significant wealth.

The judge also cited serious charges, which could land Maxwell, 58, in prison for up to 35 years if she is convicted.

In addition to charges related to allegedly recruiting and grooming several underage girls for her former boyfriend Epstein in the 1990s, Maxwell also is charged with perjury for allegedly lying during a deposition for a lawsuit filed by an Epstein accuser.

Since her first bail hearing, Maxwell has been locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

That federal lockup's grim conditions are radically different than the luxurious venues where she and Epstein once socialized with former friends including Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, as well as with Britain's Prince Andrew and other wealthy individuals.

VIDEO0:5800:58
NBC archive footage shows Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein in 1992

As of last week, Maxwell was in quarantine because of her exposure to a jail staffer who tested positive for the coronavirus. She tested negative for Covid-19, prosecutors said in a court filing.

Her attorneys have repeatedly complained about the restrictions placed on Maxwell, saying they are stricter than those for accused terrorists, and that her ability to prepare for trial is being negatively affected as a result.

In a court filing in late November, Maxwell's lawyer griped that her sleep was being disturbed every 15 minutes by the flashlight of a guard checking to confirm that she is breathing.

The federal Bureau of Prisons, which runs that jail, has faced stiff criticism since August 2019, when Epstein died from what has officially been ruled as a suicide by hanging in the cell of the federal jail in Manhattan where he was being held on child sex trafficking charges.

Epstein's death came just weeks after his first apparent effort at suicide by hanging in that jail, where he was being held after another judge rejected his request to set a $100 million bail.

Two guards who were supposed to be monitoring Epstein — and a number of other inmates in a special protective housing unit — on the night of his death were arrested on federal charges in November after prosecutors said they tried to hide the fact that they failed to monitor the detainees.

Those guards, Michael Thomas and Tova Noel, are accused of signing multiple false certifications that they did required head counts of inmates and performed walking rounds. Thomas and Noel instead browsed the internet and appeared to have slept for about two hours the night Epstein died.