August 10, 2020
The attorneys for Ghislaine Maxwell on Aug. 10 asked the judge presiding over their client’s child sex abuse case to move Maxwell to the general prison population, arguing that the defendant is unable to adequately prepare for her trial defense due to the “onerous” conditions of her confinement resulting from the purported prison suicide of her accomplice and former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.
According to a letter from her attorneys (pdf), Maxwell has been held in solitary confinement under 24-hour surveillance for 40 days. The prison guards constantly watch her and take notes about everything she does. Some of the guards do not appear to be regular prison employees, the lawyers noted.
“Until recently, Ms. Maxwell was subjected to suicide watch protocols, including being woken up every few hours during the night and being forced to wear special clothing, despite the fact that she, unlike Mr. Epstein, has never been suicidal and was never diagnosed as exhibiting risk factors for suicide,” the attorneys wrote.
“Her cell is searched multiple times a day and she has been forced to undergo numerous body scans. In addition, Ms. Maxwell’s access to the standard prison resources available to other pretrial detainees in the general population has been extensively curtailed or eliminated altogether.”
Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire over a month ago on charges that she facilitated and aided Epstein by recruiting, grooming, and sexually exploiting minor girls. She has denied all of the allegations and intends to fight the charges in court.
A lawyer representing seven women who say they were abused by Epstein previously told The Epoch Times that he is worried that Maxwell will end up dead.
“I have grave concerns that she doesn’t make it out of jail alive,” Spencer Kuvin said.
Maxwell’s attorneys argue that the unique conditions under which their client is held are impeding her ability to prepare a defense for her trial. They said that under a proposed arrangement, she would only be able to access a computer to view case documents during a three hour period in which she is allowed to leave her cell. The attorneys say that this time is Maxwell’s only chance for recreation, exercise, and personal hygiene, including taking showers. Even if she sacrificed this time in favor of preparing for the defense, it would take Maxwell until mid-November 2020 just to examine the first batch of 13,000 documents produced by the prosecutors.
“This is entirely unworkable under the schedule set by the court,” the attorney wrote.
In the same letter, the attorneys also asked the judge to order that Maxwell be told the identity of the three victims whose names were withheld from the indictment.
Epstein was facing child sex trafficking charges last year when he was found dead in his cell. Authorities later indicted two prison guards for failing to conduct prisoner counts on their watch.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov