Attorneys for Ghislaine Maxwell asked a federal judge on Monday to direct the Bureau of Prisons to release her into the general population of the federal facility where she’s incarcerated, saying she has been “held under uniquely onerous conditions” in the wake of last year’s jailhouse death of her former boyfriend and alleged accomplice, Jeffrey Epstein.
“As a result of what occurred with Mr. Epstein, Ms. Maxwell is being treated worse than other similarly situated pretrial detainees, which significantly impacts her ability to prepare a defense and be ready for trial on the schedule set by the Court,” her lawyers told the judge.
Maxwell is being held at a Brooklyn federal detention facility, the Metropolitan Detention Center, while she awaits trial on charges that she recruited, groomed and sexually abused underage girls as young as 14 as part of Epstein’s alleged years-long criminal enterprise. She has pleaded not guilty and was denied bail.
Since her arrival in Brooklyn following her arrest in New Hampshire, Maxwell has been held in isolation, where she is surveilled 24 hours a day, her lawyers told the judge. She was on suicide watch until recently, they wrote, “despite the fact that she, unlike Mr. Epstein, has never been suicidal and was never diagnosed as exhibiting risk factors for suicide,” and she has been subjected to numerous body scans and cell searches.
Epstein died while awaiting trial last year on sex-trafficking charges at a different federal facility, Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner said Epstein died by suicide by hanging.
Maxwell won’t be able to adequately prepare her defense for trial if she continues to be held in such restrictive conditions, her lawyers wrote, asking for her to be given privileges granted to other pretrial detainees and increased access to a computer terminal.
In the letter to the judge, her lawyers also asked for New York federal prosecutors to disclose to defense counsel the identities of the three minor victims they cited in the indictment against Maxwell so that she and her attorneys “can meaningfully investigate the alleged conduct.” Such a disclosure would be subject to the protective order imposed by the court, and therefore wouldn’t be made public.
The judge instructed prosecutors to respond by Thursday.