During the trial, slated for summer 2021, British socialite and Jeffrey Epstein’s former partner Ghislaine Maxwell is due to appear before a New York judge and jury over the alleged procurement of underage sex slaves for the billionaire, who had earlier been convicted of paedophilia.
Jeffrey Epstein’s suspected “pimp” Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers sent a motion to the New York federal judge assigned to the case requesting that she be released into the Metropolitan Detention Centre’s general population so she can “meaningfully participate in her own defence”, Fox News reported, citing the letter.
The motion claims that Maxwell has been “treated less favourably than a typical pre-trial detainee” – under “uniquely onerous conditions – which the lawyers attribute to fears of suicide following Jeffrey Epstein’s death in July 2019, formally ruled to be a suicide at the time.
The letter also claims that Maxwell has been “subject to suicide watch protocols” that include being “woken up every few hours during the night and being forced to wear special clothing”, despite her not grounding concerns in any way that she might take her own life.
REUTERS / JANE ROSENBERG
Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing where she was denied bail for her role aiding Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and eventually abuse of minor girls, in Manhattan Federal Court, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. July 14, 2020 in this courtroom sketch
The letter says she is under 24-hour surveillance by security cameras that are viewed by “multiple prison guards, many of whom do not appear to be regular MDC personnel”, with all her activities tracked, including phone conversations with defence counsels – something the lawyers say infringes on their client’s Sixth Amendment right to participate in her own defence.
The motion also seeks the identities of three alleged victims that have given testimony against Maxwell, so that the suspect and her team can better prepare the defence while not being completely “disfavoured” ahead of the trial.
Maxwell faces six federal charges, including sex trafficking of minors for financier Epstein between 1994 and 1997, personal involvement in the abuse, and even perjury, which could put her behind bars for a period of up to 35 years. She has pleaded not guilty and the trial has been scheduled to kick off in July 2021. Her attorney called the indictment at the time “meritless”.
A trove of newly released documents, which were made public soon after Maxwell’s long-sought arrest at her New Hampshire hideaway, hints at the fact that she could have kept in touch with the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein longer than she previously claimed: at a bail hearing late last month, she insisted that she hadn’t been in contact with her pal and ex-lover for over a decade.
AFP 2020 / JOHANNES EISELE
(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 2, 2020 a photo of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein is seen as acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, announces charges against Maxwell during a press conference in New York City