Ghislaine Maxwell denies charges she aided Jeffrey Epstein, says she deserves bail

FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, speaks at a news conference on oceans and sustainable development at the United Nations in New York, U.S. June 25, 2013 in this screengrab taken from United Nations TV file footage. UNTV/Handout via REUTERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, on Friday forcefully denied charges she lured underage girls so he could sexually abuse them, and said she deserves bail.

Maxwell’s request was filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan eight days after her arrest in New Hampshire, where authorities said she had been hiding at a sprawling property she bought while shielding her identity.

Maxwell, 58, was moved on Monday to the Metropolitan Detention Center, a jail in Brooklyn, New York.

Prosecutors have said she poses an “extreme risk of flight” and should remain detained until trial.

Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted. Her arraignment before U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan is scheduled for July 14.

In Friday’s filing, Maxwell said her detention put her at “serious risk” of contracting the COVID-19 disease.

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

Maxwell “vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” the filing said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler)

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