News World Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell argues innocence in bail request
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Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell argues innocence in bail request

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Ghislaine Maxwell has forcefully denied charges she lured underage girls so Jeffrey Epstein could sexually abuse them and says she deserves bail.

Appealing to be released, the former socialite said her detention put her at “serious risk” of contracting COVID-19.

In a court filing, lawyers for the former girlfriend and longtime associate of the late financier said she had not been in contact with Epstein for more than a decade.

Arguing the 58-year-old’s innocence, her lawyers wrote Maxwell “vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence”.

The filing added that “sometimes the simplest point is the most critical one: Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein”.

Maxwell filed her request in the US District Court in Manhattan eight days after being arrested in New Hampshire, where authorities said she had been hiding at a sprawling property she bought while shielding her identity.

She has been accused of conspiring with the late Epstein to recruit, groom and sexually abuse girls as young as 14 between 1994 and 1997.

Ghislaine Maxwell in new York in 2013. Photo: Getty

Maxwell is currently being held in jail at New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn.

Her lawyers claim Maxwell was not in hiding when she was arrested.

“She did not flee, but rather left the public eye, for the entirely understandable purpose of protecting herself and those close to her from the crush of media and online attention and its very real harms—those close to her have suffered the loss of jobs, work opportunities, and reputational damage simply for knowing her,” her wrote.

They also said she is not a flight risk, citing her lack of a prior criminal record and her remaining in the United States after Epstein’s arrest last July.

Prosecutors have called Maxwell an “extreme risk of flight” who should remain detained until trial.

Her arraignment is on July 14, and she faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

The arrest of Maxwell, the daughter of late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, came nearly one year after Epstein pleaded not guilty to charges he sexually abused women and girls in Manhattan and Florida.

Maxwell, pictured in New York in 2013, was a regular at events and parties. Photo: Getty

Epstein was found dead in jail last August 10 at age 66.

He had before his arrest socialised over the years with many prominent people including Britain’s Prince Andrew, US President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.

Maxwell faces six criminal charges including four related to transporting minors for illegal sexual acts and two for perjury in depositions about her role in Epstein’s abuses.

-with AAP