A US judge has ordered Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, must stay in jail due to posing an extreme flight risk.
Maxwell, a British socialite who has been charged with luring young girls so the late financier could sexually abuse them, was on Wednesday morning (Australian time) denied bail.
US District Judge Alison Nathan’s decision to keep her detained came a day after prosecutors portrayed Maxwell, 58, as an extreme flight risk.
The judge set a trial date for July 12, 2021.
Maxwell earlier pleaded not guilty at a hearing in which women who accused her of enabling their abuse decried her “heinous” actions.
Looking tired, with her hair pulled back and wearing a brown T-shirt and tortoiseshell glasses, Maxwell appeared by video from the Brooklyn jail where she is being held.
Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of helping Epstein recruit and eventually abuse girls as young as 14 from 1994 to 1997 and lying about her role in depositions in 2016.
She was charged with six criminal counts, including four related to transporting minors for illegal sexual acts and two for perjury.
Federal prosecutor Alison Moe said the government’s investigation is ongoing, but did not currently anticipate seeking to expand the charges against Maxwell.
Annie Farmer, who has accused the defendant of enabling her abuse, said Maxwell “has never shown any remorse for her heinous crimes” and told the court “the danger Maxwell poses must be taken seriously”.
“She is a sexual predator who groomed and abused me and countless other children and young women,” Farmer told the court.
“Without Ghislaine, Jeffrey could not have done what he did,” an unidentified accuser said in a statement.
This accuser’s statement said she knew Maxwell for more than 10 years and still felt threatened, adding, “if she is out, I need to be protected”.
Prosecutors urged detention because they said Maxwell is a flight risk.
“The defendant has the ability to live in hiding, she’s good at it,” Moe said, adding that Maxwell had demonstrated she can “live off the grid, indefinitely”.
Moe noted that it took a year after Epstein’s arrest to find her.
The wealthy socialite’s lawyers sought a bail package including a $US5 million ($A7.2 million) bond and home confinement with electronic monitoring.
But prosecutors said her wealth and multiple citizenships – American, French and British – also supported the need for detention.
Epstein was charged in July 2019 with sexually exploiting dozens of girls and women from 2002 to 2005 at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.
He took his own life on August 10 at age 66 in a Manhattan jail.
Prosecutors accused Maxwell of luring girls as young as 14 by asking them about their lives, schools and families and taking them shopping or to movies – acts, they said, that served as “the prequel” to Epstein’s abuse.
Epstein has been linked socially to several powerful figures including US President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew.