Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell complains about 'onerous' jail conditions

Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY
·2 min read

NEW YORK — Ghislaine Maxwell, the former companion of Jeffrey Epstein accused of helping him run an international sex trafficking operation, argues she's being held in a federal jail under "uniquely onerous conditions," including a suicide watch.

Accused of recruiting and grooming girls as young as 14 for Epstein to sexually abuse, Maxwell argued via a defense lawyer's letter that she's been singled out for less favorable treatment than other pretrial prisoners.

That treatment stems from the federal government's "reaction to the circumstances surrounding the pretrial detention and death" of Epstein, who was found unconscious in his Manhattan jail cell on August 10, 2019, wrote defense lawyer Christian Everdell. Epstein was declared dead, and an official autopsy concluded he had committed suicide — a ruling that has sparked numerous conspiracy theories claiming he was killed.

A photo of Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein as federal authorities announce charges against her during a news conference in New York on July 2, 2020.
A photo of Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein as federal authorities announce charges against her during a news conference in New York on July 2, 2020.

Maxwell has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since July 6. She complained in the letter that guards keep her away from other prisoners, watch her around the clock, force her to undergo numerous body scans and conduct multiple searches of her cell each day.

Maxwell "has never been suicidal and was never diagnosed as exhibiting risk factors for suicide," Everdell argued in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. Maxwell's treatment has threatened her constitutional right to participate in her own defense, Everdell wrote.

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Everdell asked Nathan to instruct the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to modify Maxwell's treatment by transferring her to the general jail population, giving her the same privileges as other prisoners and providing access to a computer where she can review legal documents in her case.

He also asked Nathan to require prosecutors to disclose the identities of three victims expected to testify as government witnesses against Maxwell. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office has signaled that it plans to keep the identities confidential until the case against Maxwell gets closer to her scheduled trial in July 2021.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ghislaine Maxwell: Improper jail treatment is due to Epstein suicide