Ghislaine Maxwell becomes first New York City inmate to get in-person visit from lawyer since pandemic began, reports say

British socialite has been detained in solitary confinement without bail since early July

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Saturday 29 August 2020 21:20 BST
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Ghislaine Maxwell is the first prisoner in the city of New York to be visited by a lawyer since the start of the pandemic.

The British socialite received the visit ahead of inmates who have been waiting far longer in federal facilities in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, where she is detained.

She is charged with abetting Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of young girls.

Covid-19 social distancing and lockdown rules have prevented visits for close to six months, but the New York Daily News reports that two of her attorneys visited her on Friday.

Attorney Sean Hecker, who is involved in a legal case over visits and conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Centre, where Ms Maxwell is being held, told TV channel CNBC he knows that it is the first visit.

“It is outrageous that the first in-person visit would be granted to a well-heeled British socialite who the president of the United States stated that he wished well,” said Mr Hecker.

“It only serves to confirm that our government doesn’t understand that they operate two different systems of justice, one for the well-heeled and well-connected, and one for everyone else.”

Mr Hecker said federal officials have been discussing one-hour visits from one lawyer for inmates at the jail, but Ms Maxwell had a three-hour visit from two of her legal team.

The US Bureau of Prisons says it does not comment on specific inmate’s conditions of confinement or visits but that pandemic protocols remain in place.

A statement clarifies: “While in general legal visits are suspended, case-by-case accommodations will be accomplished at the local level and confidential legal calls will be allowed in order to ensure inmates maintain access to counsel. We are facilitating attorney client-visitation, as well as judicial proceedings, via video conference, primarily at our detention centres.”

Ms Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges of recruiting and grooming underage girls, as young as 14 years old, to be abused by Epstein. She has been held without bail in solitary confinement since the beginning of July.

The Independent has asked the Bureau of Prisons for comment.

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