Ghislaine Maxwell was in the process of divorcing her husband at the time she was arrested by the FBI, the US government claimed on Friday in response to the socialite’s bail plea.
Ms Maxwell, 58, filed a fresh appeal to a New York judge on Monday in an attempt to be freed from prison before Christmas. Her husband, understood by The Telegraph to be tech CEO Scott Borgerson, put up more than $22 million in security, saying in a letter to the judge that she was a “wonderful and loving person.”
Ms Maxwell claimed she was not a flight risk, as the government has claimed, because she has strong ties to the US and a family life with Mr Borgerson, 44.
However, the prosecution responded by revealing that the couple was actually divorcing, which “undermines her assertion that her marriage is a tie that would keep her in the United States.”
“Although the defendant now claims her marriage would keep her in the United States, her motion does not address the plainly inconsistent statements she made to Pretrial Services at the time of her arrest, when the defendant said she was ‘in the process of divorcing her husband.”
In the defence’s appeal for bail, lawyers suggested that Ms Maxwell could stay with a friend in New York City under 24-hour surveillance while awaiting her July trial if she was released on bail, notably not with her spouse.
Ms Maxwell’s application will now be considered by US District Judge Alison Nathan, who rejected a $5 million bail package for Ms Maxwell in July, agreeing with the government she was an “extreme flight risk”.
The heiress has been living in a Brooklyn jail since July, when she pleaded not guilty to helping associate Jeffrey Epstein recruit and groom underage girls for sex in the mid-1990s.
The government also claimed in documents submitted to the US District Court in Manhattan that new details about Ms Maxwell’s finances – details she would have known when first seeking bail – did not bolster her case.
Financial records show Ms Maxwell transferred vast sums to Mr Borgerson after they married in 2016, which experts say could have been designed to protect her financially from any claims lodged by alleged victims of Epstein.
The prosecution, led by US District Attorney Audrey Strauss, alleged in Friday’s filing that Ms Maxwell’s decision to move most of her assets to her husband showed her ability to “hide her true wealth,” whose size demonstrated she could “absolutely afford” to flee.
One victim, Annie Farmer, filed a passionate letter in which she pleaded with the judge not to grant Ms Maxwell bail.
“I write this not only on behalf of myself, but all of the other girls and young women who were victimised by Maxwell,” Ms Farmer writes. “Ghislaine Maxwell sexually abused me as a child and the government has the responsibility to make sure that she stands trial for her crimes.
“I do not believe that will happen or that any of the women she exploited will see justice if she is released on bail. She has lived a life of privilege, abusing her position of power to live beyond the rules. Fleeing the country in order to escape once more would fit with her long history of anti-social behavior.”
Ms Maxwell denies the allegations.