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British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail on Epstein-related sex abuse charges

Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, will remain behind bars until trial after she was denied bail Tuesday as a risk to flee rather than face charges she recruited girls for the financier to sexually abuse more than two decades ago.

Two Epstein accusers implored the judge to keep the British socialite detained after she pleaded not guilty to the charges during a video court hearing in Manhattan.

US District Judge Alison J Nathan said even the most restrictive form of release would be insufficient to ensure Maxwell would not flee, particularly now that she knows a conviction could result in up to 35 years in prison.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges she aided disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple girls more than two decades ago.

She was arrested earlier this month at her New Hampshire estate and has been held without bail at a prison in New York.

She appeared via video conference in a New York court hearing.

Prosecutors have said the 58-year-old former girlfriend of Epstein had played a "critical role" in befriending and grooming minor victims for him to sexually abuse.

Epstein killed himself last year in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, and now Maxwell's lawyers argue she is a scapegoat for the disgraced financier.

Maxwell "vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence," her lawyers said, according to AP.

Maxwell's lawyers had asked that she be released on bail of $5 million (€4.4 million) under conditions including home confinement in the New York City area and electronic monitoring due to coronavirus risks.

But prosecutors have argued that she might flee the country, according to AP.

"The defendant has not only the motive to flee, but the means to do so swiftly and effectively,” prosecutors wrote, referring to her access to millions of dollars.

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