- The Washington Times - Friday, July 10, 2020

Attorneys for Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of aiding Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking empire, said Friday she is not a flight risk and her year-long disappearance was because she was hiding from the media.

Ms. Maxwell’s legal team said she should be granted bail while she awaits trial on federal sex trafficking charges. They are requesting that she be released on $5 million bond and turn over her passport to authorities.

Although the attorneys acknowledge that she was hiding in the aftermath of Epstein’s arrest last summer, they say it was because of an unforgiving media onslaught hounding her every move.

Ms. Maxwell was arrested last week at her sprawling New Hampshire mansion. Prosecutors say she concealed her identity as the property’s owner.

“The steps that Ms. Maxwell took to leave the public eye after Epstein’s arrest are not indicative of a flight risk,” they wrote saying the measures were “necessary” to avoid the media.

“Ever since Epstein’s arrest, Ms. Maxwell has been at the center of a crushing onslaught of press articles, television specials and social media posts painting her in the most damning light possible and prejudging her guilt,” her lawyers wrote. “The sheer volume of media reporting mentioning Ms. Maxwell is staggering.”

A British tabloid offered a $10,000 bounty for information about whereabouts using a headline reminiscent of a Wild West wanted poster, according to the court filing.

“The ‘open season’ declared on Ms. Maxwell after Epstein’s death has come with an even darker cost — she has been the target of alarming physical threats, even death threats and has had to hire security guards to ensure her safety,” her lawyers wrote.

Prosecutors last week have argued that Ms. Maxwell should remain in custody until her trial, calling her an “extreme” flight risk with more than $20 million in the bank and three passports to her name.

Federal prosecutors say Ms. Maxwell helped Epstein, her billionaire boyfriend, “recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims,” whom they knew were underage, from 1994 to at least 1997. Some of the girls were as young as 14, according to the six-count indictment unsealed after her arrest.

Epstein, who authorities say died in a jailhouse suicide in August, was awaiting trial for charges of paying hundreds of underage girls to have sex with him and associates at his opulent New York and Florida homes.

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