10:13 GMT26 February 2021
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    Maxwell, who is being held in a prison in Brooklyn while awaiting trial, has been denied bail on two occasions. In one, a judge rejected a $28.5 million bail proposal on the grounds that Maxwell was not being transparent about her financial sources as well as enduring concerns that she may try to flee the country if granted temporary leave.

    Lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein’s longterm girlfriend and alleged co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, have accused the US government of prosecuting her simply because Epstein is dead, and that they therefore want a substitute that they can hold responsible.

    In unsealed court papers, the lawyers wrote that the “sudden zeal” with which the US government is putting together a case suggests an effort to try and present Maxwell as “Epstein’s equal - if not his superior.”

    “One does not need to engage in complex analysis to understand what has happened here: the government has sought to substitute our client for Jeffrey Epstein, even if it means stretching – and ultimately exceeding – the bounds of the law,” the lawyers wrote in the Manhattan federal court documents.

    “The government’s sudden zeal to prosecute Ms Maxwell for alleged conduct with Epstein in the 1990s – conduct for which the government never even charged Epstein – follows a history that is both highly unusual and deeply troubling,” they reportedly added.

    The 59-year-old Maxwell was charged in July 2020 with aiding Epstein in his maintaining of a globe-spanning sex-trafficking ring, 11 months after the disgraced financier hung himself in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial.

    In the court documents, Maxwell’s lawyers reportedly attempt to undermine the case of the US government on multiple grounds, including one allegation that a grand jury seated in suburban Westchester County deprived her of her right to diversity because it included too many white people and too few black people and hispanics.

    Another challenge that Maxwell and her lawyers have made for her dismissal has to do with a non-prosecution agreement that Epstein signed with federal prosecutors in Florida 12 years ago, which protected him from charges as he pleaded guilty to a state charge and subsequently served 13 months in prison. Maxwell’s lawyers argue that Epstein intended for the agreement to include any associates who were accused of being co-conspirators, including Maxwell.

    Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell
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