NEW YORK (AP) — Defense lawyers insisted Ghislaine Maxwell is “no monster” as they asked an appeals court Monday for her release on bail so she can better prepare for trial on charges she procured girls for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.
The lawyers told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the British socialite has not been given an adequate opportunity to prove that she would not flee if she was allowed to await trial at home under 24-hour armed guard and with collateral posted to support a $28.5 million bail.
The attorneys have thrice failed to convince a Manhattan federal judge to release their 59-year-old client. Maxwell faces an arraignment Friday on sex trafficking charges added to an indictment last month.
Her trial is set for July 12 on charges alleging she recruited and groomed teenage girls from 1994 to 2004 to provide sexual massages to her one-time boyfriend. Last week, her lawyers requested that the trial be delayed until next January, saying the new charges require months of investigation.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty. Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan federal lockup as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.
As they have repeatedly argued before, lawyers for Maxwell wrote that she is being punished in part because Epstein is out of reach.
“She is no monster, but she is being treated like one because of the ‘Epstein effect,’” they wrote.
The lawyers urged the 2nd Circuit to “test the actual strength” of the government case by insisting on a more thorough bail hearing where they could prove that each story told by the four people who say they were victims of Epstein and Maxwell “has dramatically changed over the years.”
“At first, none of the anonymous accusers even mentioned Ms. Maxwell. As they hired the same law firm, sought money and fame, joined a movement, and only after Epstein died, did the accusers start to point the finger at Ms. Maxwell. Far from corroboration, this is fabrication,” they wrote.
A spokesperson for prosecutors declined comment.