Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite charged with aiding Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse, has offered to renounce her UK and French citizenship in an attempt to secure bail.
The offer to surrender her foreign citizenship is the latest attempt by Maxwell’s lawyers to secure bail for their client. Maxwell, 59, has been denied bail twice, with a judge deeming her to be a flight risk.
Maxwell is being held in a jail in Brooklyn, New York, after being charged in July with helping Epstein, a convicted sex offender, recruit three teenage girls for sex. Epstein killed himself in a New York City jail in August 2019, while awaiting trial for numerous alleged sex crimes.
“If the court deems it a necessary condition of release, Ms Maxwell will formally commence the procedure to renounce her foreign citizenship,” her lawyers wrote in a court motion on Tuesday.
The move, according to Maxwell’s lawyers, “should satisfy any concerns the court may have that Ms Maxwell may try to seek a safe haven in France or the United Kingdom”.
Maxwell’s legal team said renunciation of her UK citizenship could be formalized immediately upon Maxwell being granted bail.
“The process of renouncing her French citizenship, while not immediate, may be expedited,” the lawyers said.
Maxwell, who has lived in the US for 30 years, was born in France in 1961 and grew up in the UK. The daughter of the British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, she became close to Epstein in the 1990s and eventually, prosecutors claim, recruited women for the New York financier.
Maxwell was arrested in July in New England, where she had been laying low in a tiny New Hampshire town, and charged with a litany of sex offenses including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
The arrest drew unwanted attention to Prince Andrew, who was a close friend of Maxwell’s, and later Epstein’s, and a regular guest at parties thrown by Maxwell in New York City. In a lawsuit, Virginia Giuffre alleged that Maxwell drew her into Epstein’s circle under false pretenses, before forcing her, as a 17-year-old, to have sex with men, including Andrew. Andrew has denied Giuffre’s claims.