Ghislaine Maxwell is being unfairly subjected to “extraordinarily harsh” prison conditions to prevent her from committing suicide as her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein did, according to her lawyers.
In their latest complaint that the British socialite accused of sex trafficking is being held under more restrictive conditions than other inmates, Maxwell’s attorneys said Monday that she has lost more than 15 pounds and is sustaining hair loss. Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 in what was later ruled a suicide. How he was permitted to do so stirred controversy.
“It is obvious that Ms. Maxwell is bearing the brunt of the Bureau of Prisons incompetence” revealed in Epstein’s incarceration, Maxwell lawyer Bobbi Sternheim wrote in a letter to the judge handling the case. The Justice Department is trying to restore the BOP’s reputation by putting Maxwell in “extraordinarily harsh conditions” not due to any security measure “but rather in response to the failed handling of a completely different inmate.”
Earlier Monday, the Bureau of Prisons told the judge there was nothing extraordinary about the Maxwell’s conditions of confinement, including the facility’s coronavirus protocols.
“Her medical records show that she currently weighs 134 lbs., which fluctuates plus or minus 2 lbs,” according to the bureau’s letter to the judge.
Sternheim wants the warden at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn to explain to the judge why the restrictive conditions are necessary. The attorney said explanations that Maxwell’s conditions are keeping her out of contact with inmates with Covid-19 fall flat because she’s been in contact with a member of her security team who tested positive for the virus. The resulting quarantine “further diminished” her ability to prepare her defense for trial and caused the cancellation of legal visits, Sternheim wrote.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, who rejected Maxwell’s previous bid in July to be freed on $5 million bail, said last week that if she wants to renew her request it must be in open court rather than behind closed doors. On Monday, the judge set a schedule for both sides to submit more filings and said she’ll decide after reviewing them whether another bail hearing is necessary.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges she helped Jeffrey abuse underage girls.
The case is U.S. v. Maxwell, 20-cr-330, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).