Ghislaine in tears as she is refused bail
Disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell broke down in tears as she was refused bail and will spend the next year in prison awaiting trial on child sex charges.
US District Court Judge Alison Nathan heard Maxwell was "the very definition of a flight risk" who used a series of alter egos to hide from authorities and lied to investigators about her vast wealth.
During a video court appearance, Maxwell, 58, pleaded not guilty to child sex crimes involving her paedophile boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in jail last August.
The court heard from two alleged victims, one of whom said: "Those of us who survived implore this court to detain her on bail.".
Prosecutors said Maxwell had lied to investigators about her finances and her whereabouts during their probe into billionaire Epstein's sex trafficking empire.
They argued she should remain in jail ahead of her trial next year, rather than stay at the "luxury hotel in Manhattan" her legal team had requested she be housed in.
Maxwell faces a potential 35 years jail for six charges including grooming and recruiting young women for sex with Epstein between 1994 and 1997.
Epstein killed himself in custody after being charged with dozens of child sex crimes last year.
Prince Andrew is among those accused of being part of Epstein's sex trafficking scheme, with Australian-based mother Virginia Giuffre Roberts having accused him of having sex with her when she was underage.
She says she had sex with Andrew at Maxwell's London home at the behest of Epstein.
The Duke strenuously denies the accusations.
He says he doesn't remember meeting Roberts, and he may be called to give evidence at Maxwell's trial.
Prosecutors allege Maxwell also took part in some of the sex acts, committed across luxury properties owned by Epstein and herself in New York, New Mexico, Palm Beach and London.
She also faces two perjury charges for allegedly lying under oath in a separate civil suit in 2016.
Maxwell's lawyers argued she should be remanded in detention in a New York hotel and that keeping her in prison exposed her to the risk of catching coronavirus.
The court heard from two of Maxwell's alleged victims, who pleaded with Judge Alison Nathan to keep her in jail.
"She is a sexual predator who groomed and abused victims," said Annie Farmer, who had previously testified a year ago at Epstein's bail hearing.
Farmer said Maxwell had shown no remorse and the danger she continues to pose "must be taken seriously".
"Without Ghislaine, Jeffrey could not have done what he did. Jeffrey was in charge, but she egged him on and encouraged him."
Another victim, named as Jane Doe, said she needed protection after coming forward about the alleged abuse, and that she had received a phone call threatening her two-year-old child.
"I have great fear that Ghislaine Maxwell will flee," she said.
"I know what she has done, I know how many lives she has ruined and I know she has no remorse.
"If she believes she risks prison, she will never come back.
"I personally know her international connections that will allow her to disappear at a minute's notice."
Maxwell, who is the Oxford University educated daughter of disgraced British publisher Robert Maxwell, appeared via video link from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where prosecutors argued she "presents extreme risk of flight".
"There are serious red flags here", said Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe.
Maxwell had "significant financial means, has not come close to thoroughly disclosing finances, has the ability to escape beyond reach of extradition and a strong incentive to flee."
ADA Moe said Maxwell's "extensive international ties" and three passports meant she "could live beyond the reach of justice".
She had also used a fake name to purchase the luxury New England bolthole where she was arrested this month.
Moe said that a real estate agent told the FBI that Maxwell posed as a journalist called "Jen Marshall" to purchase the house in New Hampshire in November 2019.
Maxwell allegedly bought the property with another individual, called "Scott Marshall," who claimed to be retired from the British military.
In court papers, prosecutors said Maxwell went to great lengths to avoid capture, including wrapping her mobile phone in tinfoil in "a seemingly misguided effort to evade detection"
Maxwell also changed her email address and was guarded by former British military officers at the New Hampshire estate she purchased in December with cash.
Court papers described her dramatic arrest earlier this month, with armed FBI agents breaking through the gates of her rural Bradford estate and apprehending her in a tracksuit.
Maxwell had three passports, had travelled internationally 15 times in recent years and held almost $AU30 million cash in 15 bank accounts.
In court, her lawyer Mark Cohen denied Maxwell had hidden from police and that she was a flight risk.
"She's part of a very large and close family," he said.
"Our client is not Jeffrey Epstein, and she has been the target of endless media spin."
In refusing bail, District Court Judge Alison Nathan said the prosecution case "appeared strong" and that Maxwell's "opaque finances" and international ties made her a flight risk.
"The risks are simply too great," she said of bail.
Judge Nathan also said that although COVID-19 was a concern, there were no additional risks for Maxwell given her age and health.
The judge set a preliminary trial date of July 21, 2021, saying it was expected to take two weeks.