Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam, is really not enjoying her time behind bars under quarantine.
Last week, lawyers for Maxwell, who stands accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for the late Epstein, submitted a letter to the New York judge overseeing Maxwell’s case with a number of complaints. Not only is Maxwell followed by a camera when she is allowed to leave her cell, but when she falls asleep, she gets woken up every 15 minutes to check whether she’s still breathing, according to the letter.
“Ms. Maxwell has spent the entirety of her pretrial detention in de facto solitary confinement under the most restrictive conditions where she is excessively and invasively searched and is monitored 24 hours a day,” reads the letter, signed by Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim.
Maxwell, who has been denied bail and is now awaiting trial, is currently being held in the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York. In mid-November, a staffer who works in the section of MDC where Maxwell is being held tested positive for COVID-19; Maxwell was then sent into quarantine, according to a letter filed by prosecutors last week.
Steinheim’s letter mentions that Maxwell was originally quarantined 12 days ago without soap or a toothbrush, and that she’s only allowed out of her cell three times a week for a short amount of time. But the prosecutors’ letter says that these curtailed excursions are normal protocol for quarantined inmates. Maxwell hasn’t shown any COVID-19 symptoms, according to the prosecutors’ letter.
Although she is constantly monitored, the letter from Maxwell’s legal team says that “medical and psychological staff” have stopped doing daily check-ins since her quarantine began, and that she has not been given the results of her COVID tests.
The letter further accuses the authorities of holding Maxwell in harsher conditions than people convicted of terrorism and capital murder.
Epstein, infamously, died by hanging while awaiting trial at a different New York detention facility, the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. His death was ruled to be a suicide; two guards were charged last November with conspiracy and filing false records after Epstein’s death. Prosecutors allege that they’d been online shopping and napping instead of checking on inmates. Both guards have pleaded not guilty.
At the time of his death, Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was facing federal sex-trafficking charges. Maxwell has been charged with four counts related to sex-trafficking, as well as two counts of perjury. She was arrested in July, after nearly disappearing from the public eye in the wake of Epstein’s 2019 arrest and death.
“Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then developed them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them,” Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a press conference the day Maxwell was arrested. “She pretended to be a woman they could trust. All the while, she was setting them up to be sexually abused by Epstein and, in some cases, by Maxwell herself.”
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty. Her trial is set for July.
Editor’s note 12/8/2020: The headline of this story has been updated to reflect that Ghislaine Maxwell is in jail, not prison.