A federal judge Tuesday ordered Ghislaine Maxwell jailed pending trial, saying the significant financial resources, international ties and "extraordinary capacity to avoid detection" of the one-time girlfriend and alleged accomplice of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein made her a flight risk.
At a court proceeding, Maxwell, 58, pleaded not guilty to charges by New York federal prosecutors that she helped recruit, groom and ultimately sexually abuse minors as young as 14.
The British socialite, whom prosecutors have described as having been "in hiding" since Epstein's arrest last summer, participated in the hearing by videoconference from a federal jail in Brooklyn, providing the public its first glimpse of her in more than a year.
Dressed in a brown crew neck prison shirt, her dark hair pulled into a bun, Maxwell fidgeted in her seat as US District Judge Alison Nathan rejected arguments by Maxwell's defense counsel that she should be granted bail. At one point, Maxwell sighed, but betrayed no emotion.
Regarding possible bail conditions, the judge said: "The court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that no combination could reasonably assure her presence in court. The risks are simply too great."
Prosecutors had urged the judge to order detention for Maxwell, saying her wealth -- with numerous bank accounts containing as much as $20 million, according to court filings; multiple foreign citizenships, including in France, which doesn't extradite its citizens; and skill at hiding made her an "extreme" risk of flight.
In court Tuesday, prosecutor Alison Moe laid out "serious red flags" and detailed what she described as additional evidence of Maxwell's deception, saying Maxwell told a real estate agent involved in the sale of her New Hampshire estate -- where Maxwell was living when she was arrested July 2 -- that she was a journalist named Janet Marshall.
Only upon seeing Maxwell's photo in news reports following her arrest did the agent realize he had been duped, Moe told the court.
"These facts make clear to the court that the defendant has the ability to remain in hiding," Moe told the judge. "She's good at it," she said, adding that Maxwell has the "ability and willingness to live off the grid indefinitely."
There's no way Maxwell, if granted bail, would not be on her way to the French Riviera or another playground without an extradition treaty with the US tonight as you read this. She knows too many powerful people, who owe her too many favors to keep her from talking.
Because putting her in a federal facility in Brooklyn for a year before even getting a trial date is exactly what federal prosecutors are hoping will force her to cooperate. There's no way she sails through a year unscathed as someone the world believes rounded up kids as sport for consumption by hungry predators. She knows this.
She's going to talk. (Well, if she's not ganked. Again, powerful people involved.)
It'll come sooner rather than later, too. Maxwell doesn't strike me as the "Orange is the New Black" quick learner type. She'll need to give up some heavy hitters though.