Ghislaine Maxwell claims prison guards illegally recording calls with lawyers, doubts chances of a fair trial
Ghislaine Maxwell has reportedly claimed her chances of receiving a fair trial are being diminished as prison guards are allegedly eavesdropping on private conversations with her lawyers. The British socialite and media heiress is currently awaiting trial in a New York jail over her alleged role in the sex crimes of late pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, The Sun reported. Last August, Epstein died under suspicious circumstances in his cell at a different maximum-security facility in New York. At the time, he was awaiting trial on charges related to sex trafficking on minors.
FBI agents arrested Maxwell last month at a luxurious mansion in New Hampshire. She is currently facing charges of enticement of minors, sex trafficking, and perjury, albeit she denies any wrongdoing. Following Epstein's apparent suicide in prison, authorities initially placed Maxwell on suicide watch. This meant she would have to wear paper clothes and sleep on a bare mattress without sheets. While those restrictions have now been eased, Maxwell still remains in solitary confinement. Her lawyers recently filed a complaint claiming she she is being held in "uniquely onerous conditions." “[Maxwell] continues to be surveilled 24 hours a day by security cameras and by multiple prison guards, many of whom do not appear to be regular MDC personnel,” attorney Christian Everdell wrote in the filing. “These prison guards constantly observe Ms. Maxwell and take notes on her every activity, including her phone conversations with defense counsel."
Under New York state law, it is illegal to disclose “confidential communication" between an attorney and his or her client, which comes under "attorney-client privilege."
“It has become apparent that the BOP’s treatment of Ms. Maxwell is a reaction to the circumstances surrounding the pretrial detention and death of Mr. Epstein," the filing continued. “As a result of what occurred with Mr. Epstein, Ms. Maxwell is being treated worse than other similarly situated pretrial detainees.”
It added that Maxwell “has never been suicidal."
"Until recently, Ms. Maxwell was subjected to suicide watch protocols, including being woken up every few hours during the night and being forced to wear special clothing, despite the fact that she, unlike Mr. Epstein, has never been suicidal and was never diagnosed as exhibiting risk factors for suicide," per the document. "Her cell is searched multiple times a day and she has been forced to undergo numerous body scans."
Maxwell's lawyers had applied for bail after she was arrested and requested that she be transferred to house arrest. However, the request was declined after a judge determined she was an "extreme flight risk."
According to the filing, Maxwell's current living conditions were preventing her from preparing properly ahead of her trial, which is scheduled for July 2021. “Ms. Maxwell does not seek special treatment at the MDC; but she does ask that she not be specially disfavored in her treatment in detention, especially when it comes to preparing her defense to conduct that allegedly took place over 25 years ago,” the filing added. Her lawyers also requested for her to be allowed more time with a computer so she could study documents related to her case, as well as to release her "to the general population and be granted the privileges given to other pretrial detainees."
Maxwell's lawyers have reportedly also requested the judge to force the government to disclose the identities of three alleged victims referred to in the indictment, so that "Ms. Maxwell and defense counsel can meaningfully investigate the alleged conduct, which is now over 25 years old,” the filing says.
The longtime confidante and one-time girlfriend of Epstein facilitated the hedge fund honcho's abuse of young girls in the mid-1990s and allegedly participated in some of the abuse herself, prosecutors allege. She has pleaded not guilty to said charges.
However, the current charges against her stem from allegations made by three alleged victims in particular. “The defense should not have to speculate which of these individuals are Victims 1-3 referenced in the indictment,” the filing adds. “Maxwell cannot prepare for or receive a fair trial without this information."
Prosecutors have been ordered by US District Judge Alison J Nathan to provide a response to the filing by Thursday.