Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime associate of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, has denied charges she lured underage girls for him to sexually abuse.
- Ms Maxwell has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn
- 55 inmates and detention centre staff have tested positive for COVID-19
- Ms Maxwell faces six criminal charges
Ms Maxwell, 58, filed her bail request in the US District Court in Manhattan, citing the risk she might contract COVID-19 in jail
She appeared 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.
A spokesman for acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
She was one of Jeffrey Epstein’s closet confidantes and until her arrest, was described as a “James Bond character” who might never be found.
Ms Maxwell has been housed since Monday at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
She said her detention there put her at “significant risk” of contracting the coronavirus, after 55 inmates and staff had tested positive for COVID-19 through June 30.
Ms 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 Mr Epstein’s abuses.
In Friday’s filing, Ms Maxwell said she “vigorously denies the charges” and intended to fight them.
Her arraignment is on July 14, and prosecutors want her detained until trial.
Prosecutors cite ‘extreme’ flight risk
Last week, Audrey Strauss announced the charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple girls by Jeffrey Epstein.(AP: John Minchillo)
Ms Maxwell is the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell.
Mr Epstein’s body was found last August 10 in jail at age 66, in a controversial death ruled a suicide.
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Before his arrest he had socialised for years with many prominent people including Britain’s Prince Andrew, US President Donald Trump and former US president Bill Clinton.
Ms Maxwell’s proposed bail package includes a $US5 million ($7.2 million) bond, the surrender of her passports, “stringent” travel restrictions, and home detention with electronic monitoring.
She said she would continue needing security guards to ensure her safety.
Epstein conspiracy theories
The mysterious Jeffrey Epstein’s life and crimes, and the lack of punishment thereof, had already been the subject of intense debate, but his death has prompted a slew of conspiracies.
Ms Maxwell also maintained she was not a flight risk, claiming to have remained in the United States since Mr Epstein’s arrest.
“[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,” the filing said.
Friday’s filing also raised several legal challenges to the indictment, including that Mr Epstein’s 2007 non-prosecution agreement with the US government covered “any potential co-conspirators”.
In seeking Ms Maxwell’s continued detention, prosecutors called her an “extreme risk” of flight because of the possible long prison term, her wealth, her multiple passports and citizenships, and her having “absolutely no reason to stay”.
Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested at a New Hampshire house