Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein who is accused of grooming and abusing underaged girls, is being monitored by jail psychologists for several hours a day without her knowledge, her lawyers said in a court filing.
Maxwell’s attorneys said the former British socialite is isolated, under 24-hour video surveillance and subjected to constant observation by multiple guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, the Bureau of Prison facility where she is being held before trial.
Maxwell, 58, was arrested on July 2 and charged with recruiting, grooming and ultimately abusing three alleged victims, including a girl as young as 14 years old.
In a letter to US District Court Judge Alison Nathan filed late Monday, Maxwell’s lawyers say they recently learned that “some of these prison guards were, in fact, BOP psychologists who were observing Ms. Maxwell and evaluating her for hours each day without her knowledge. We are aware of no other pretrial detainee receiving such treatment.”
Maxwell’s attorneys have asked the judge to transfer Maxwell into the general jail population as she prepares for her trial, which is scheduled for next July. Maxwell pleaded not guilty to the charges. The judge overseeing the case denied Maxwell bail after finding her a flight risk.
The stepped up security follows Epstein’s death last summer while awaiting trial 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. Two guards were napping and online shopping while they were supposed to be observing Epstein, according to prosecutors, who charged them with filing false records. The guards have pleaded not guilty.
Maxwell’s lawyers have argued that Maxwell has never been diagnosed as suicidal and the current conditions treat her unfairly.
Maxwell has been limited to 30 minutes a month for personal phone calls, compared with 500 minutes given to other inmates awaiting trial, her lawyers said in the letter. She does not have a desk or surface to take notes when she is reviewing evidence for her case and was recently denied access to the jail’s commissary, they added.
Prosecutors said in a court filing last week that Bureau of Prisons decided against moving Maxwell for “reasons including safety, security, and the orderly functioning of the facility.”
Maxwell “will be placed into the general population if and when BOP is assured that such placement would not pose a threat to the orderly operation of the institution,” prosecutors wrote in the court filing at the time.
Maxwell’s lawyers also renewed their request to be told the identities of the three accusers named in the indictment. Prosecutors have objected to the request at this point in the litigation process citing the privacy of the victims.
By Kara Scannell, CNN