Ghislaine Maxwell has lost her bid to be transferred from solitary confinement into the general inmate population of her Brooklyn jail, where she is being held for charges of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse of minors.
The 58-year-old is currently being held at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn following her arrest on 2 July, and has been accused of luring and grooming underage girls, so Jeffery Epstein, her former boyfriend and business associate, could abuse them.
On Tuesday, Manhattan federal court Judge Alison Nathan denied a request from Ms Maxwell’s lawyers for the US Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to monitor her the same way they do the other inmates, according to CBS News.
Her lawyers had argued that she is unable to adequately prepare for her upcoming trial, because she is being held under strict conditions, which include her being watched closely by the bureau’s psychologists.
Ms Maxwell’s lawyers also claimed that she is being subjected to multiple searches and have alleged that her phone calls are being monitored.
“These prison guards constantly observe Ms Maxwell and take notes on her every activity, including her phone conversations with defence counsel,” the lawyers claimed.
After turning down the request on Tuesday, Ms Nathan claimed that Ms Maxwell “has provided the Court with no evidence, and no reason to believe, that the surveillance measures are motivated by improper purposes”.
Ms Nathan added that “The BOP is providing the defendant with conditions that allow her access to discovery materials so that she can meaningfully participate in the preparation of her defence. Further action by the Court as this juncture is therefore unnecessary.”
However, the judge said that if “facts on the ground change such that the defendant is not being provided sufficient access to her legal materials, defence counsel may seek intervention by the Court”, as the agency has a “duty to ensure the safety and security of the defendant”.
Maxwell’s lawyers had also argued that she is being treated differently to other inmates, due to her status and the circumstances that surrounded Epstein’s death last year.
Epstein was found dead in his New York prison cell in August 2019, while he was awaiting trial on charges relating to the trafficking and sexual abuse of minors.
A coroner ruled that he died by suicide, and an investigation into the circumstances around his death alleged multiple safeguarding failures by the prison staff who were supposed to be monitoring him.
The British socialites’ lawyers said that Ms Maxwell is being treated like she will harm herself, but they have argued that she has never been suicidal and is being treated unfairly.
“She, unlike Mr Epstein, has never been suicidal and was never diagnosed as exhibiting risk factors for suicide,” her lawyers wrote in a separate filing last month.
Ms Maxwell’s trial has been scheduled for July 2021, and reports have claimed that an entire floor of the prison has been emptied to house Maxwell without interaction with other prisoners.
In a filing two weeks ago, prosecutors said Ms 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”.
The judge also denied a request from Ms Maxwell’s lawyers on Tuesday that asked for the identities to be revealed of three women who have claimed Epstein and his one time girlfriend conspired to sexually abuse them when they were teenagers.
Ms Nathan said that the prosecutors had only just started to turn evidence over the defence that might be used during the trial and added that discussions on witnesses had not yet started, according to the Associated Press.
The judge said that Maxwell’s lawyers could renew their request in November, after the deadline for the prosecutors to hand over their evidence has passed.
In a pre-trial hearing in July, Maxwell pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was denied bail.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies