#sextrafficking | Ghislaine Maxwell wanted to divorce husband ‘to protect him’, lawyers say | Ghislaine Maxwell | #tinder | #pof | #match

The British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s latest argument for bail in her sex trafficking case claimed that she and her husband had discussed a divorce of convenience “to protect him … from the terrible consequences of being associated with her”, according to Manhattan federal court papers filed Wednesday.

Maxwell has been jailed since her 2 July arrest for alleged involvement in the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking of minor girls. Maxwell had been a close confidante of Epstein as he cultivated a circle of powerful friends and associates across the world.

Maxwell’s spouse, the businessman Scott Borgerson, has come up repeatedly in pre-trial discussions, with both defense attorneys and prosecutors using the marriage to discuss her character.

On 14 December, Maxwell’s lawyers asked Judge Alison Nathan to release her on a $28.5m bail package, with home confinement enforced by electronic monitoring. In that request, Maxwell’s lawyers pointed to her marriage as a reason she wouldn’t flee if released.

“For Ms Maxwell to flee, she would have to abandon her spouse,” defense lawyers wrote in the filing. “In fact, every action Ms Maxwell has taken from the time of Epstein’s arrest up to the time of the first bail hearing was designed to protect her spouse from harassment, economic harm and physical danger.”

Several days later, prosecutors said in court filings that there had been talk of divorce, to argue that the marriage wasn’t enough to keep Maxwell in the US.

After her arrest, Maxwell told authorities that she was “in the process of divorcing her husband”, prosecutors said, further arguing that “the defendant’s inconsistent statements about the state of their relationship – undermine her assertion that her marriage is a tie that would keep her in the United States.”

In Wednesday’s new filing, lawyers for Maxwell provided fresh details on the divorce discussion in an effort to rebuke prosecutors’ claims.

“Prior to her arrest, Ms Maxwell and her spouse had discussed the idea of getting a divorce as an additional way to create distance between Ms Maxwell and her spouse to protect him from the terrible consequences of being associated with her,” they wrote.

They added: “Nevertheless, in the weeks following the initial bail hearing, she and her spouse therefore had no reason to continue discussing divorce, which neither of them wanted in the first place.”

After Epstein’s arrest and subsequent death in jail in August 2019, the media spotlight fell on Maxwell, 58, whose whereabouts became a subject of speculation with alleged sightings popping up across the US and the world. The mystery was solved when law enforcement raided a large house in rural New Hampshire earlier this year and arrested her.

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