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Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers request bail, arguing she 'is not Jeffrey Epstein'

Ghislaine Maxwell, ex-girlfriend and longtime associate of the late convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, on Friday forcefully denied charges she lured underage girls so he could sexually abuse them, and said she deserves bail.

Her legal team also cites COVID-19 concerns and says she isn't a flight risk

Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime friend of the late convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, is shown at the United Nations in 2013, speaking about sustainable development. She was arrested earlier this month in New Hampshire. (UNTV/Reuters)

Ghislaine Maxwell, ex-girlfriend and longtime associate of the late convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, on Friday forcefully denied charges she lured underage girls so he could sexually abuse them and said she deserves bail.

Maxwell filed her request in the U.S. 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.

The 58-year-old Maxwell "vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them and is entitled to the presumption of innocence," the filing said.

A spokesperson for acting U.S. attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.

Maxwell has been housed since Monday at the Metropolitan Detention Center, a jail in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Her lawyers requested bond of $5 million US and said her detention there put her at "serious risk" of contracting the COVID-19 disease.

WATCH l Ghislaine Maxwell arrest 'long overdue for victims,' Gloria Allred tells CBC:

Representing 16 of Jeffrey Epstein's victims, the celebrated women's rights lawyer, Gloria Allred, speaks to the CBC's Hannah Thibedeau about the arrest of Epstein's former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, on charges that include recruiting and abusing underage girls.   9:04

She 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.

Charges stem from 1990s allegations

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 between 2002 and 2005.

Epstein, who had previously served a short sentence in a controversial plea deal reached with Floridian authorities, was found dead in a federal jail in New York City on Aug. 10, 2019. He was 66.

Through the years, he had socialized with many prominent people, including Britain's Prince Andrew, U.S. President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.

"Sometimes, the simplest point is the most critical one: Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein," her legal team said in its filing. "She was not named in the government's indictment of Epstein in 2019, despite the fact that the government has been investigating this case for years."

Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of recruiting girls as young as 14 for Epstein from 1994 to 1997.

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.

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