Ghislaine Maxwell subjected to raw sewage in New York jail, lawyer says
Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite fighting federal sex trafficking charges in New York, remains subjected to raw sewage, water deprivation, “hyper-surveillance” by overbearing guards and other unacceptable treatment in jail, according to her lawyer.
Maxwell, 59, is preparing for a possible November trial on charges she procured four underage girls for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty and faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.
In a Tuesday night filing, Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, said Maxwell was forced to change cells at the Metropolitan detention center in Brooklyn after raw sewage permeated her cell last week.
Sternheim also said guards were still able to read Maxwell’s confidential legal papers and monitor her meetings with lawyers, and that neither Maxwell nor her lawyers were allowed water during a four-hour meeting on Sunday.
Despite repeated complaints about Maxwell’s treatment, “little if anything has been done,” Sternheim wrote.
“The ever-changing rules are negatively impacting Ms Maxwell’s ability to prepare for trial,” Sternheim added. “The hyper-surveillance of Ms Maxwell and counsel during legal visits is highly inappropriate and invasive.“
Sternheim’s letter was in response to a 7 June letter from prosecutors that she said falsely suggested that Maxwell “is detained under favorable and privileged conditions”.
The office of US attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.
Meanwhile, in London, the Metropolitan police said it will review allegations that Maxwell trafficked, groomed and abused women and girls in the UK.
The UK broadcaster Channel 4 News said an investigation has found more than half a dozen claims that young women and girls were targeted, trafficked, groomed, or abused in the UK by Epstein and Maxwell over a period spanning more than a decade.
The news outlet said some victims have provided detailed accounts of their experiences, adding that the evidence comes from a combination of publicly available documentation, witness accounts and interviews.
Channel 4 News said the alleged offences include serious sexual assault and rape.
Maxwell has denied all criminal charges and repeatedly, through her lawyers, denied any wrongdoing.
In New York on Wednesday, the US district judge Alison Nathan, who oversees Maxwell’s case, directed prosecutors to release a redacted version of their letter by Thursday.
Maxwell is the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, and a former girlfriend and longtime associate of Epstein.
She has been denied bail three times by Nathan and twice by a federal appeals court.
Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 after pleading not guilty to sex trafficking charges. New York City’s medical examiner called the death a suicide.