News World Epstein ex Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail for fifth time
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Epstein ex Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail for fifth time

A courtroom sketch shows Ghislaine Maxwell seated next to her attorney Bobbi C Sternheim. Photo: AP
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Ghislaine Maxwell has been denied bail for a fifth time after an appeals court ruled the British socialite still poses a significant flight risk.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected the 59-year-old’s latest bail request on the grounds that she might try to avoid extradition by fleeing to France or the United Kingdom where she is a citizen.

Ms Maxwell, who is accused of recruiting four underage girls for convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004, will subsequently remain in a New York jail.

The court also denied Ms Maxwell’s request for a hearing on what her lawyers called “horrific” confinement conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

It did not explain its reasons.

If convicted, Ms Maxwell faces up to 80 years in prison. A trial in Manhattan is slated for November.

Ms Maxwell was arrested last July, and has lost four previous bail requests – including a $28.5 million bail release proposal in December.

Her lawyers argue she cannot properly prepare for trial because of sleep deprivation, a lack of potable water, a sewage stench in her cell, an inability to meet privately with her lawyers or keep jail guards from reviewing her confidential materials and an underpowered computer to review evidence.

Ms Maxwell faces charges that she lured underage girls for Jeffery Epstein to sexually abuse.

“Ghislaine Maxwell is subjected to more gruelling conditions than any other inmate” at the Brooklyn jail, her lawyer David Markus said in an email.

“This is due to the Epstein effect. Because Epstein died on the jail’s watch, it has decided to torture Ghislaine. That’s wrong.”

Her brother Ian Maxwell told the BBC’s Today program in March that he believed she was losing her hair, having trouble with her eyesight and her ability to concentrate.

Ms Maxwell is “in effective isolation” in a 1.8- by 2.7-metre cell without natural light that contains a concrete bed and a toilet, he said.

She is under around-the-clock surveillance with 10 cameras and four guards tracking her movement, and is also being deprived of sleep, he added.

Ms Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and other charges.

Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on separate charges.

A spokesman for US Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan and a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons declined to comment.

-with AAP