Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial lawyers are suing her family for unpaid legal bills

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial lawyers are suing her family for unpaid legal bills

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial lawyers are suing her family for unpaid legal bills

Maxwell is serving a 20-year sentence in a Florida prison - REUTERS

Maxwell is serving a 20-year sentence in a Florida prison – REUTERS

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial lawyers are suing the Maxwell family over hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid legal bills, alleging they conspired to hide her fortune.

Maxwell’s former lawyers at law firm Haddon, Morgan & Foreman (HMF) filed a civil suit on Monday against the British heiress, her brother Kevin and her estranged American husband Scott Borgerson, claiming they worked together to protect her assets so they could not used to pay legal fees.

The Colorado-based firm, which represented Maxwell in previous lawsuits brought by victims of her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, is suing for $878,000 (£745,000).

Only one member of her legal team, Bobbi Sternheim, who works for another firm, does not appear to be named as a plaintiff in the case.

According to Haddon, Morgan & Foreman, Ghislaine told the legal team Kevin Maxwell would handle payment for their services. However, they “quickly developed concerns about Maxwell’s willingness and ability to meet his financial obligations.”

They claim they requested a $250,000 bond right after her July 2020 arrest by the FBI on sex trafficking charges. About half of it was paid quickly.

HMF, a high-profile Denver firm that previously defended Kobe Bryant in his Colorado sexual assault lawsuit, emailed Maxwell asking for updates on the $140,000 owed. Mr Maxwell is said to have ignored the emails.

“As 2021 progressed, Maxwell consistently fell behind on its obligations to HMF. When HMF raised concerns, Mr. Maxwell routinely assured the firm that he would satisfy the outstanding invoices,” it wrote in the Denver District Court filing, first seen by Australian podcaster Jen Tarran.

“To prevent HMF from withdrawing, Mr. Maxwell made a handful of sporadic payments.”

Isabel Maxwell, Kevin Maxwell and Christine Maxwell - PA

Isabel Maxwell, Kevin Maxwell and Christine Maxwell – PA

As her November 2021 trial approached, HMF requested a larger retainer of $1 million in “recognition that Maxwell’s trial would be a complicated and protracted ordeal that would require HMF to advance significant costs, divert the firm’s resources from other cases, and claim rejection. other potential customers.”

When it was not paid, on 5 November they threatened to end the representation. Mr Maxwell followed up by reiterating “the commitment we have made as a family to honor the fees payable and requested by you both in good faith and as a binding commitment.”

Mr Maxwell allegedly told the firm that Ghislaine’s husband at the time, Mr Borgerson, controlled Maxwell’s assets and was responsible for delaying payments to the firm.

The law firm alleges that tech entrepreneur Borgerson formed two limited liability companies and used Maxwell’s money to buy two high-end apartments in Boston and other properties in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in an effort to protect her assets.

In her second attempt to secure bail while awaiting trial, the 60-year-old offered the federal court in New York a bond package of $28.5 million.

It was revealed that shortly after their marriage in 2016, she had put the majority of her $20.2 million assets into a trust controlled by Borgerson, which was now worth $22.02 million.

Bobbi Sternheim, a member of Maxwell's legal team who works for another firm, does not appear to be named as a plaintiff in the case - BLOOMBERG

Bobbi Sternheim, a member of Maxwell’s legal team who works for another firm, does not appear to be named as a plaintiff in the case – BLOOMBERG

Prosecutors said Maxwell’s transfer of money to her husband showed her ability to “conceal her true wealth” and claimed she had not been truthful about her assets in initial financial disclosures.

The firm agreed not to drop her case. “HMF, dependent on Mr Maxwell’s undertaking, continued to use all necessary resources in Mr Maxwell’s defence,” the lawyers wrote.

After Maxwell’s trial ended in a guilty verdict in December, more than $950,000 was due. In mid-January, Maxwell paid HMF $143,500, but the rest, the firm claims, is still outstanding despite “assurances” that the money would be sent.

When HMF informed Maxwell in prison that they planned to withdraw their services ahead of her sentencing, the socialite reportedly begged them to continue with her case.

“HMF has been damaged as a result of Mr Maxwell’s fraud in an amount to be proven at trial,” the firm concluded.

They are also suing Borgerson for “wrongfully attaching Maxwell’s assets, joint marital assets and/or assets obligated to fund her defense, and impairing her ability to fulfill her obligations.”

They claim that Borgerson and Maxwell “shared the motive to protect these assets from creditors including HMF”.

Kevin Maxwell, 63, was acquitted in the 1990s of financial crime charges related to the business practices of his father, publishing magnate Robert Maxwell. He later declared bankruptcy.

He supported his sister during the trial, sitting with siblings Ian, Christine and Isabel at the Thurgood Marshall courthouse in Manhattan.

HMF attorney Christopher Montville, who represents the firm in the case, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Maxwell is serving a 20-year sentence in a low-security federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida. She has retained a new lawyer for the appeal.

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