Ghislaine Maxwell could be bailed because of coronavirus according to a former federal prosecutor, leaving open the risk that the alleged sex trafficker could try to flee.
At least 55 inmates have staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn where the girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein is currently being held.
Maxwell’s lawyers have already argued that the former socialite is at “significant risk” of catching coronavirus unless she is allowed to leave the facility.
“I think this one is a close case. Epstein had no chance at all at bail. She’s in a very different position,” said Jaimie Nawaday, who previously worked for the Southern District of New York (SNDY).
“All bail arguments look a little bit different now given Covid-19. That’s definitely in her favour,” she added.
Nawaday believes Maxwell isn’t a flight risk because she didn’t attempt to immediately flee after Epstein was arrested last year.
While it would be virtually inconceivable Maxwell could flee to another country given the surveillance she would still be under on bail, the former socialite still presumably has numerous powerful friends who may take a risk to help her, especially if she possesses information which could be used to blackmail them.
Former SDNY prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers asserted that Maxwell was indeed a flight risk due to these factors.
“Maxwell has wealth, multiple passports, strong connections outside of the US, and a strong incentive to flee given the serious penalties she faces. The argument that she is a flight risk is strong,” Ms Rodgers said.
“Unless there are underlying health issues that haven’t been reported, Maxwell is healthy and not old enough at 58 to fall in a high-risk group, so I don’t think the Covid crisis will work in her favour,” she added.
As we previously highlighted, Maxwell purportedly possesses secret sex tapes that would expose powerful Epstein acquaintances, a bargaining chip she hopes to use to secure a plea deal.
Epstein himself reportedly was considering the same tactic in order to get a reduced sentence, but he was found dead weeks later.
Maxwell is due in court on Tuesday for her arraignment.
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