Politics

Accused Jeffrey Epstein sex crime enabler Ghislaine Maxwell loses bid to be put into jail's general population

Key Points
  • British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell lost her bid to be transferred from solitary confinement into the general population of the Brooklyn jail where she is being held.
  • Maxwell is charged with abetting Jeffrey Epstein's sexual abuse of underage girls.
  • Both she and Epstein had been friends in the past with Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, as well as with Prince Andrew.
Ghislaine Maxwell attends day 1 of the 4th Annual WIE Symposium at Center 548 on September 20, 2013 in New York City.
Laura Cavanaugh | Getty Images

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell on Tuesday lost her bid to be transferred from solitary confinement into the general inmate population of the Brooklyn jail where she is being held on charges of abetting Jeffrey Epstein's sexual abuse of underage girls.

Manhattan federal court Judge Alison Nathan also denied a request by Maxwell's lawyers to order that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons monitor her in the same manner that the agency monitors other detainees in that jail.

Maxwell's lawyers have argued that her ability to prepare for trial is being hampered by the fact that she is being held under strict restrictions, which include being closely watched by, among other people, BOP psychologists.

Nathan, in her denial Tuesday, wrote that Maxwell "has provided the Court with no evidence, and no reason to believe, that the surveillance measures are motivated  by improper purposes."

Nathan also rejected a request by defense lawyers that prosecutors be forced to disclose the identities of three women whose claims of being abused by Epstein after Maxwell recruited them as underage girls form the basis of the pending criminal charges against her.

The judge said that that request for disclosure was "premature" in the case, which is scheduled to go to trial next year.

Maxwell, 58, is being held without bail on charges related to her alleged recruitment and grooming of girls to be sexually abused by the wealthy money manager Epstein, sometimes with her participation, at multiple locations in the mid-1990s.

One of the alleged victims was just 14 years old at the time she was recruited.

Maxwell also is charged with perjury for allegedly falsely denying while under oath for depositions in a civil lawsuit her alleged conduct as his procurer. 

She was arrested in early July at a million-dollar hideaway in New Hampshire on the charges, which were filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty in the case, which has drawn worldwide attention for, among other things, Maxwell's and Epstein's past friendships with Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, as well as with Prince Andrew and other celebrities.

VIDEO0:5800:58
NBC archive footage shows Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein in 1992

Epstein died last August from what has officially been ruled a suicide by hanging in the Manhattan federal jail where he was being held on child sex trafficking charges related to abuse of dozens of girls from 2002 through 2005.

On Aug. 10, Maxwell's lawyers wrote Nathan, seeking the judge's "assistance to improve Ms. Maxwell's conditions of confinement at the Metropolitan Detention Center ... and her access to the discovery in this case, so that she can meaningfully participate in her defense." Discovery is evidence that is turned over to parties in a legal case.

"Ms. Maxwell has been treated less favorably than a typical pretrial detainee, and this has impacted her ability to assist in her defense," the lawyers wrote.

"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 letter went on to say that because of "what occurred with Mr. Epstein, Ms. Maxwell is being treated worse than other similarly situated pretrial detainees, which significantly impacts her ability to prepare a defense and be ready for trial."

Defense lawyers told Nathan that "Ms. Maxwell has been held under uniquely onerous conditions," which include being confined outside the general population of the MDC.

"She 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," the lawyers wrote.

"These prison guards constantly observe Ms. Maxwell and take notes on her every activity, including her phone conversations with defense counsel."

The letter said that until recently, Maxwell had been subjected to suicide watch protocols, which included being forced to wear special clothing, and to being woken up every few hours each night.

"Her cell is searched multiple times a day and she has been forced to undergo numerous body scans," the letters said.

Last week, in another court filing, Maxwell's lawyers told Nathan, "The defense 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," the lawyers added.

Nathan, in rejecting the request to order BOP to shift Maxwell into the jail's general population, wrote, "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 defense."

"Further action by the Court as this juncture is therefore unnecessary," Nathan wrote.

But the judge added that if "facts on the ground change such that the Defendant is not being provided sufficient access to her legal materials, defense counsel may seek intervention by the Court."

The judge also wrote, in addressing the monitoring of Maxwell by the BOP, that the agency has a "duty to ensure the safety and security of the Defendant."