Ghislaine Maxwell due to appear at bail hearing

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and ex-girlfriend of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is due to appear at a bail hearing via video link later on Tuesday.

It will determine whether she stays in prison while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors for Epstein.

Her lawyers have asked for her release on bail of $5m (£4m) because of the risk of getting coronavirus in jail.

She was arrested on 2 July and denies the charges against her.

She faces up to 35 years if convicted.

Prosecutors allege that between 1994 and 1997 Ms Maxwell helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14. Epstein died in prison on 10 August as he awaited his trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was determined to be suicide.

Last week, her lawyers said her detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, put her at “serious risk” of contracting coronavirus.

They said she was not a flight risk and asked the judge to release her from custody on bail signed by six of her associates and secured by a $3.75m property in the UK.

Under the proposed bail conditions, Ms Maxwell, 58, would surrender her passports from the US, UK and France and would confine herself to a property in New York with electronic GPS monitoring.

Her lawyers are arguing Ms Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein and that she was not in contact with him for more than a decade before his death.

US federal prosecutors have said she is an “extreme risk of flight” and should remain in custody because her wealth, multiple passports and and the length of her potential sentence mean there’s a risk she may abscond.

Four of the charges Ms Maxwell faces relate to the years 1994-97 when she was, according to the indictment, among Epstein’s closest associates and also in an “intimate relationship” with him. The other two charges are allegations of perjury in 2016.

The indictment says Ms Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18”.

Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

Ms Maxwell is the daughter of late British media mogul Robert Maxwell.

A well-connected socialite, she is said to have introduced Epstein to many of her wealthy and powerful friends, including Bill Clinton and the Duke of York (who was accused in the 2015 court papers of touching a woman at Jeffrey Epstein’s US home, although the court subsequently struck out allegations against the duke).

Buckingham Palace has said that “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors” by the duke was “categorically untrue”.

Ms Maxwell has mostly been out of public view since 2016 and was arrested at her remote estate in Bradford, New Hampshire, on 2 July.

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