Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers ask judge to free her on $28m bail | Ghislaine Maxwell

Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell are urging a judge to free her to await trial under a $28.5m (£21.4m) bail package that would include armed guards to ensure she remains safe and does not flee her New York City residence.

The bail arguments on behalf of the British former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, first filed under seal last Tuesday, were publicly released late on Monday in Manhattan federal court with redactions that were approved by Judge Alison J Nathan.

They were supported by numerous letters from family and friends who insisted that Maxwell sought seclusion in New Hampshire in December 2019 after receiving death threats and was worried that the public and media would find her at the home where she lived with her husband.

A security specialist who offered to pledge $1m toward the bail package and to provide armed security for Maxwell if she was released on bail said she retreated into a back room of her residence when the FBI approached on 2 July because it was thought reporters had found her.

Maxwell, 58, is scheduled to face trial in July on charges that she recruited three teenage girls for Epstein to abuse in the mid-1990s.

Her first attempt at securing bail shortly after her July arrest was rejected.

The lawyers said Maxwell and her husband, with whom she has been living for most of the past four years, were offering a bail package partially consisting of a $22.5m personal recognizance bond secured by $8m in property and $500,000 in cash. They said it represented all of the couple’s assets, including three homes.

The husband was not identified in court papers, but a financial report among exhibits said they married in 2016 and that Maxwell had put the majority of the $20.2m in assets she had in 2015 into a trust controlled by her spouse. It said the assets, $16m of which was in cash or equities, were worth $22.5m on 31 October.

The financial report also noted that prosecutors in their initial bail submission cited transfers totalling more than $20m from 2007 to 2011, describing them as transfers from Epstein’s accounts to Maxwell’s accounts and vice versa.

The financial report noted that Maxwell during those years acted as an officer of various corporate entities related to aircraft and air travel associated with Epstein and there were substantial transfers involving those corporate entities.

The identities of seven other close friends and family members who the lawyers said were willing to pledge about $5m of their own assets toward the bail package were also not revealed. The lawyers said bail would include electronic monitoring.

“Ms Maxwell vehemently maintains her innocence and is committed to defending herself,” the lawyers wrote. “She wants nothing more than to remain in this country to fight the allegations against her, which are based on the uncorroborated testimony of a handful of witnesses about events that took place over 25 years ago.”

To support the bail request, the lawyers included a letter from Maxwell’s spouse. They said the letter tells how Maxwell was forced to leave her family and drop out of public view, not because she was eluding law enforcement, but because of “the intense media frenzy and threats following the arrest and death of Jeffrey Epstein”.

In one letter attached to the bail request as an exhibit, an individual wrote: “Her love for … her husband was a principal reason that she stayed close by as possible while fighting for her innocence.

“I can attest that when she moved, it was always and only due to fear of being discovered by the press or ‘vigilantes’ – the fear was palpable,” the unidentified individual wrote. “The only reason that she was forced to find quiet places to be in all this time, is due to the howling ‘mobs’ screaming for her ‘scalp’ on Twitter and other social media outlets.”

The individual added: “She has never hid from the authorities and is frustrated that she never had the opportunity to talk to them personally to counteract all the lies pouring out in the media.”

Epstein killed himself in a federal Manhattan jail in August 2019 as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. He was 66.

A spokesperson for prosecutors declined to comment.